Proposed Spanish national anthem lyrics withdrawn due to controversy

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Friday, January 18, 2008

The Spanish people will have to wait a little longer before they can sing to their national anthem.

La Marcha Real (The Royal March) has been wordless since its conception in 1761, but on June 5, 2007, Alejandro Blanco, the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, advocated the creation of lyrics to La Marcha Real.

"The lyrics have generated controversy and, in some cases, rejection. Spain is a country with cheerful people who sing at any opportunity, so why shouldn’t they be able to sing the words of a national anthem?," stated Blanco.

Just half a year later, the proposed lyrics were withdrawn being due to criticism that it represents Spain's right-wing past, not its cultural diversity.

Among the reasons for it being withdrawn include the first phrase of each stanza, "Viva España!" (Long live Spain!), which refers to a rallying cry by the late dictator General Francisco Franco. It also said that Spaniards should love the "fatherland." Blanco also stated that the lyrics "lacked consensus."

"I have to accept reality, but this does not mean I no longer believe in the idea," added Blanco.

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, a supporter of giving La Marcha Real lyrics, was due to be the first person to sing the Spanish national anthem at the Olympic Committee dinner on January 21.