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SPAIN

Madrid complains on bishops’ stance

MADRID — Spain’s government has told the Vatican that it is “surprised and puzzled” by criticism from Spanish bishops who have advised Catholics on how to vote in next month’s election, the press reported yesterday.

Madrid’s envoy to Rome complained to the Vatican after bishops urged Spaniards to vote for parties that do not negotiate with Basque ETA guerrillas — an apparent jibe at the ruling Socialists who held failed peace talks in 2006.

The bishops also criticized the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and the reduced weight of religion in schools, all measures carried out by the Socialists in its attempt to modernize the nominally Catholic but, socially, more liberal country.

MONACO

Elections held for new parliament

MONACO —The principality of Monaco held elections for a new parliament yesterday, with three parties putting up candidates, all with unswerving loyalty to Prince Albert II.

Only a small proportion of Monaco’s 32,000-strong population — 6,324 bona-fide Monegasques — were actually eligible to vote in a country best known for its jet-setting billionaire residents.

The tiny French Rivera state has a single polling station, with just one ballot box. Voters elected the 24 members of the principality’s legislative body, the National Council, for a five-year term.

From wire dispatches and staff reports