On 12 June 1985, following six years of intense negotiation, Spain signed the Accession Treaty to join the European Economic Community (EEC). The event took place just a few months before the tenth anniversary of Francisco Franco's death and was an important turning point in Spain's contemporary political history. It served as proof of the international recognition of Spain's new democratic political regime and signalled that the country was ready to leave the tumultuous twentieth century behind as a legitimate and internationally acknowledged liberal democracy. It also represented an opportunity to consolidate the electoral success of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), or what has been termed by Holman (1996) as the hegemonic project of the Spanish socialists. The Spanish democratic transition, which has been held up as exemplary by many, cannot be understood without bearing in mind the stability provided by 14 consecutive years of government by the PSOE (1982–1996).