Does World Cup triumph mean a united Spain?
bbc / Walter Oppenheimer
13-Jul-2010 (one comment)

World Cup victory has put the national flag proudly on display across Spain. Yet for some - including Basques and Catalans - the flag clashes with their aspirations for greater self-rule.

Here Walter Oppenheimer, a Catalan journalist with the Spanish daily El Pais, examines the impact of World Cup euphoria in Spain.

Is football helping to unite Spain? Can the first Spanish World Cup victory achieve what no politician has been able to do for decades, if not centuries? I don't think so, I'm afraid.

Victory in South Africa was fantastic news. It will cheer up a country terribly depressed after the recession, inject a lot of confidence and help the Spanish people to go out and spend more and boost the recovery a bit. It may even help the unemployed - 20% of the working population - to look to the future in a better mood. But it's not going to end the so-called Catalan problem or the Basque problem.

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Spain is also divided by different ethnic groups such as the Catalans and Basques who in the past have revolted against the central government.

The Spanish Crown has been a Symbol of Unity but also divisions amongst some minorities for historical and political reasons that date back to the Spanish Civil War.

The Restoration of the Monarchy in 1975 was what allowed the transition of Spain from a Dictatorial system towards a Parliamentary Democracy. The Transition was fragile at first but the political elite be them right wing or left wing were able to establish a democratic alternative which was definitively accepted by all after the failed Coup of a Franchist General Tejiro in the Spanish Parliament who was dismissed by the King's Bold Statements on TV after which the general deposed his arms.

But Spain's Democracy remains fragile and threatened by regional divisions which the Monarchy has managed to maintain them under one Flag symbolized by the Royal Crest.