Spain Vows to Pull Soldiers Out of IraqYou paying attention, John Kerry?
By ED McCULLOUGH, Associated Press Writer
MADRID, Spain - The leader of Spain's victorious Socialists said Monday he will withdraw his nation's support for the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, restating a campaign promise a day after his party won elections overshadowed by terrorist bombings.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, calling the war that ousted Saddam Hussein an "error," said he would recall Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30 unless the United Nations assumes control of multinational military operations there.
In a surprise defeat, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's conservatives on Sunday became the first government that backed Washington in Iraq to be voted from office. The election came amid charges that Aznar made Spain a target for terrorists by supporting the war, and that his government concealed possible connections between the attack and Islamic terrorists for political gain.
...The conservatives' defeat was unexpected. Pre-election polls had projected the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, would win comfortably, and even some exit polls Sunday showed it might win.
But when the ballots were tallied, the Socialists netted 10.9 million to the PP's 9.6 million. Turnout was 77 percent.
Zapatero ran for the first time for prime minister against an entrenched government and won. "That broke a lot of precedents," party campaign manager Jose Blanco said Monday.
Monday, March 15, 2004
Perhaps there is some reason for hope...