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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Spain Marks Bicentennial of Its 1st Constitution

CADIZ, Spain – King Juan Carlos called Monday for a revival of the “spirit of harmony” and “civic commitment” of the parliament that met in this southern city 200 years ago and drafted Spain’s first constitution.

The monarch brought to a close the official commemoration of the bicentennial of the 1812 Cadiz Constitution, popularly known as “La Pepa” (The Seed), at Cadiz’s restored Oratory of St. Philip Neri, the same place where the charter was originally proclaimed.

The first Spanish constitution was, according to the king, a “key guide that greatly influenced” the newly independent countries of Latin America.

To continue that good work, the monarch called for greater cooperation and bonding among countries that make up the Ibero-American community of nations.

He therefore stressed the importance of using the Ibero-American Summit in Cadiz next November to “continue exploring and promoting the best paths to a progress shared by all.”

The ceremony presided over by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia was attended by some 300 guests, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and most of his Cabinet, leaders of Parliament, senior judges and presidents of some of Spain’s autonomous regions.

Other dignitaries at the ceremony included ambassadors from Latin American countries and the Philippines.

The king noted the importance of the 1812 constitution as a “key guide to unity, sovereignty and freedom” for Spaniards, which “benefited Spain, Ibero-America and the rest of Europe.”

Lawmakers gathered in Cadiz two centuries ago to draft the charter at the height of a guerrilla war against the Napoleonic army then occupying Spain.

“It is right and just to acknowledge those who, in the midst of enormous difficulties, faced their political responsibilities and created a tremendous work of national achievement,” the king said.

“We can find in the work done at Cadiz during such a difficult moment in history the guide and inspiration we need to deal with the serious difficulties our country is currently going through,” he said, alluding to Spain’s present economic woes.

In Cadiz, “the door was opened to a modern, democratic Spain.” EFE
 

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