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Madrid considers naming street after Thatcher

Spanish capital's city council mulls naming street after late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher

AFP , Friday 12 Apr 2013
Margaret Thatcher
An artist paints a commissioned artwork of Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at his studio in Brighton, southern England February 1, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Madrid's conservative-run city council said Friday it wants to name a street in the Spanish capital after former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose legacy has proved as polarising in death as she was in life.

The city's arts, sports and tourism department will officially make the proposal on Monday. It will then be put to a vote in the council assembly, where the ruling Popular Party has a majority, on April 24, a city hall spokesman said.

Madrid Mayor Ana Botella, the wife of former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, hailed Thatcher as "a pioneering woman" who understood that Britain's economic decline "was the result of a crisis of morals and values" on her blog.

"The firmness of her convictions, the clarity with which she took decisions and her authority allowed Great Britain to recover a position of leadership," she added.

Left-wing Madrid politicians swiftly said they would vote against the proposal to name a street after Thatcher, who is accused by critics of destroying British industry and society with her free-market economic policies.

"Aside from her ideology, which is totally antagonistic to the Socialist Party's, she never had a specific relationship with Madrid," said the spokesman for the Socialists in the city council, Jaime Lissavetzky.

"We respect the United Kingdom, but (Thatcher's) political trajectory was not that of a person of consensus, it was not a pro-European," he added.

Lissavetzky said the idea to name a street after Thatcher came directly from Botella, who he said did not consult with opposition groups first.

"She has an absolute majority, so she will get her street, but it will not be with our voice," he said.

In Britain Thatcher's opponents staged rowdy parties on the night of her death, while many Labour lawmakers boycotted a parliamentary tribute to her on Wednesday.

The BBC has refused to rule out playing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead", a song from the Wizard of Oz, which is climbing the charts thanks to an online campaign by Thatcher opponents.

Thatcher was Britain's first female prime minister and was in office from 1979 to 1990.

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