The bomb attacks in Madrid did more than shock this country to the core; they proved to be the decisive factor in the general election. The Socialist party leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, said his first priority, as prime minister would be to tackle terrorism in all its forms. But he's likely to do it in a very different way than the outgoing government.
He was a vocal opponent of Spain supporting the US-led war in Iraq and in power he may seek to withdraw Spanish troops who are serving in Iraq now. The late swing to the Socialists also raises one disturbing thought. If al-Qaeda was responsible for Thursday's attacks, it appears to have had significant influence in changing the government of a leading western democracy.