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Don Adolfo Suárez y González, 1st Duke of Suárez, Grandee of Spain, KOGF ( ) (born 25 September 1932) was Spain's first democratically elected prime minister after the dictatorshipmarker of Francisco Franco, and the key figure in the country's transition to democracy.

Parents

He is a son of Hipólito Suárez y … and Herminia González y … (Ávilamarker, 1910 - 18 July 2006), and the brother of Doña María del Carmen Suárez y González, who is married to Aurelio Delgado y …

Life

Suárez studied Law at Salamanca Universitymarker, and held several government posts during the late Francoist regime.

He became the Minister Secretary General of the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional), a body that served as sole political party, for 18 years, a period that extended beyond the death of Franco in November 1975. For this reason, centrists and leftists opposed the appointment of Suárez as the 138th Prime Minister of Spain by the Spanish King Juan Carlos on 4 July 1976. Suárez, as a nationalist, was chosen by the monarch to lead the country towards a democratic, parliamentary monarchy without annoying the powerful conservative factions (especially the military) in the country. Surprising many observers and political opponents, Suárez introduced Political Reform in 1976 as a first, decisive step in the Transition (La Transición) to democracy.

In 1977, Suárez led the Democratic Centrist Union (Unión de Centro Democrático, UCD) to victory in Spain's first free elections in 41 years, and became the first democratically-elected prime minister of the post-Franco regime.

Suárez's centrist government instituted democratic reforms, and his coalition won the 1979 elections under the new constitution. Less successful as a day-to-day organiser than as a crisis manager, he resigned as Prime Minister on 25 January 1981. In 1982, Suárez founded the Democratic and Social Centrist (Centro Democrático y Social, CDS) party, which never achieved the success of UCD. He retired from active politics in 1991, for personal reasons.

Suárez was awarded the Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia award in September 1996, in recognition of his important personal contribution to Spanish democracy. The King of Spain made him Duke of Suárez in 1981. On 8 June 2007, during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first democratic elections, King Juan Carlos I appointed Suárez the 1,193rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece for his important role during the Spanish transition to democracy.

Family

Suarez's wife, María del Amparo Illana y Elórtegui, and elder daughter, María del Amparo ("Marian") Suárez y Illana, suffered and died from cancer (on 17 May 2001 and 7 March 2004, respectively). The younger María del Amparo ("Marian") was born in 1962; in 1998, she married Fernando Romero y …, to whom she gave two children, Alejandra Romero y Suárez (b. 1990) and Fernando Romero y Suárez (b. 1993).

Another daughter, María Sonsoles Suárez y Illana (born in Madridmarker in 1967), became a TV news anchor for Antena 3 and married José María Martínez-Bordiú y Bassó de Roviralta, born in Madridmarker on 22 November 1962 and a nephew of Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, the son-in-law of Francisco Franco; the couple is without issue.

Suárez's eldest son, Adolfo Suárez Illana was a politician and now practises law and is heavily involved with the world of bullfighting. Suárez had two more children, his daughter Laura and his son Javier, both unmarried and without issue.

Illness

On 31 May 2005, Suárez's son, Adolfo Suárez Illana, announced on Spanish television that his father was suffering from Alzheimer's disease (or a similar illness), which meant that he could no longer remember his period as Prime Minister of Spain. The announcement followed speculation about Suárez's health in the Spanish media.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.geneall.net/H/per_page.php?id=467647
  2. Preston, Paul, "Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy", page 457. Harper Perennial, 2005. ISBN 0006386938
  3. BOE 07-06-09, Spanish official journal, accessed 9 June 2007.


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