Charles Nailen/The Hoya His excellency Narcis Serra spoke yesterday in Old North.

Military reforms played a key role in Spain’s transition from a dictatorship to a democracy, a former Spanish defense official said in a lecture Monday.

His Excellency Narcis Serra, former deputy prime minister and minister of defense in the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, said that Spain made a unique transition from military regime to democracy during the 1980s, but the implications of this transition have yet to be thoroughly studied or analyzed.

Serra said the reduction of the Spanish military and Spain’s entry into NATO are the two keys to the nation’s transition to democracy. He spoke about the process of transforming the Spanish military into a modern force that does not threaten democratic Spain.

“During the transition period, the military refrained from intervening in the political process of decision making,” Serra said.

According to Serra, the transition to democracy began with the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975. The Constitution of 1978 declared Spain a constitutional monarchy and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, which took over in 1982, was the first government under which no members had served in Franco’s regime. Also in that year, Spain joined NATO, which Serra said marked a crucial step toward a modern Spain.

Serra emphasized the importance of popular support for military reforms during a transition period. “You need society’s support for military reform,” he said.

He also spoke about the role of civilians and young people in the reforms, warning of the dangers of relying solely on the military or military leaders.

Deidre Kahn (COL ’02), a student taking “Spain: Society and Politics,” said the lecture “was an interesting description of the transition in Spain from a military regime to a democracy.”

The lecture, which was sponsored by the BMW Center for German and European Studies and the Georgetown government department, had about 40 people in attendance, including members of the Spanish department and several students.

Maria Camblor-Portilla (GRD ’04) said the presentation exceeded her expectations. “It reflected well what is going on in Spain and accurately depicted the transition from a dictatorship to democracy.”

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