You have probably seen these abbreviations in newspapers and on the TV and perhaps wondered what they mean: 23F, 29S, 11M, more recently 22M and 15M and now back in the news – 20N.
These all stand for significant dates usually in recent memory. 23F (23rd February) was the attempted military coup which was staged in 1981, 29S (29th September) was a recent and not particularly successful general strike in 2010. The most successful general strike in recent times was actually 14D (14th December 1988). I remember it because it happened three months after I first arrived in Spain and everyone was amazed as even the bars closed!) 11M (11th March 2004) was the date of the Madrid train bombings; 22M (22nd May 2011) were the recent municipal elections (probably best forgotten!); 15M (15th May also this year) was the date that the movement of “Indignados” started, about which I have written another blog.
Which brings us to 20N (20th November 2011) now announced for the next general election. This particular combination of letters is highly significant as 20N was the date that Franco died in 1975, and going even further back, the date of the death of the Falange leader (and Franco’s initial ideological mentor) José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1936 after the outbreak of the civil war.
All of these days and abbreviations are full of resonance for the Spanish, which explains why one newspaper dubbed the new election date “las elecciones generalísimas”.