Adolfo Suárez

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The Duke of Suárez
Adolfo Suárez recibe al secretario general de Convergencia Democrática de Cataluña. Pool Moncloa. 16 de marzo de 1978 (cropped).jpeg
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
5 July 1976 – 26 February 1981
MonarchJuan Carlos I
DeputyManuel Gutiérrez Mellado
Preceded byFernando de Santiago y Díaz (ad interim)
Succeeded byLeopoldo Calvo Sotelo
Minister-Secretary General of the Movimiento Nacional
In office
12 December 1975 – 6 July 1976
PresidentCarlos Arias Navarro
Preceded byJosé Solís
Succeeded byIgnacio García López
Director-General of the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation
In office
14 May 1969 – 25 June 1973
Preceded byJesús Aparicio-Bernal
Succeeded byRafael Orbe
Civil Governor of the Province of Segovia
In office
31 May 1968 – 7 November 1969
Preceded byJuan Murillo de Valdivia
Succeeded byMariano Pérez-Hickman
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
22 July 1977 – 26 October 1991
Personal details
Adolfo Suárez González

(1932-09-25)25 September 1932
Cebreros, Ávila, Spain
Died23 March 2014(2014-03-23) (aged 81)
Madrid, Spain
Resting placeCathedral of Ávila
Political partyCDS
Other political
FET y de las JONS
Union of the Democratic Centre
Democratic and Social Centre
Amparo Illana Elórtegui
(m. 1961; died 2001)
ChildrenMaría Amparo (1963–2004)
Adolfo (b. 1964)
Laura (b. 1966)
Sonsoles (b. 1967)
Francisco Javier (b. 1969)
ParentsHipólito Suárez Guerra
Herminia González Prados
Alma materSalamanca University

Adolfo Suárez González, 1st Duke of Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈðolfo ˈswaɾeθ]; 25 September 1932 – 23 March 2014) was a Spanish lawyer and politician. Suárez was Spain's first democratically elected Prime Minister since the Second Spanish Republic and a key figure in the country's transition to democracy after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

When Spain was still an autocratic regime, he was appointed Prime Minister by King Juan Carlos in 1976, hoping that his government could bring about democracy. At the time of his appointment, he was not a well-known figure, making many political forces skeptical of his government. However, he oversaw the end of the Francoist Cortes, and the legalisation of all political parties (including the Communist Party, a particularly difficult move). He led the Union of the Democratic Centre and won the 1977 general election. In 1981, he resigned and founded the party Centro Democrático y Social (CDS), which was elected to the Cortes numerous times. He retired from politics in 1991 and from public life in 2003, due to Alzheimer's disease.

Early life[edit]

Adolfo Suárez was the eldest son of Hipólito Suárez Guerra and Herminia González Prados (Ávila, 1910 – 18 July 2006), and the brother of Hipólito, María del Carmen (who is married to Aurelio Delgado Martín), Ricardo and José María.[1] He was born in Cebreros. He later studied law at Salamanca University.

Political career[edit]

Suárez held several government posts during the late Francoist State. He became the Minister Secretary General of the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional), a body that served as the sole political party in Spain for 38 years, a period that extended beyond the death of Franco in November 1975. At a rally just a month before Franco's death, Suárez was queried by the aging Caudillo on the political future of Spain and told him frankly that the Movement would not likely long survive Franco and that democratisation was inevitable.[2] Suárez was appointed as the Prime Minister of Spain by King Juan Carlos on 3 July 1976, a move opposed by leftists and some centrists given his Francoist history. As a nationalist, he 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 nation. Surprising many observers and political opponents, Suárez introduced Political Reform in 1976 as a first, decisive step in the transition to democracy (La Transición).

In 1977, Suárez led the Union of the Democratic Centre (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-Francoist Spain.

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 29 January 1981.[3] A month later, as parliament was taking a vote to confirm Suárez's replacement as Prime Minister Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, parliament was disrupted by the entrance of Lieutenant Colonel Tejero and his attempted coup.[4] The 23-F coup attempt ("El Tejerazo") shook the government, but was defeated. In 1982, Suárez founded the Democratic and Social Centre (Centro Democrático y Social, CDS) party, which never achieved the success of UCD, though Suárez and its party were important elements in the Liberal International, joining it in 1988, leading to it being renamed Liberal and Progressive International, and Suárez became President of the Liberal International in 1988.[5] He retired from active politics in 1991, for personal reasons.

Former Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez in Buenos Aires, 1981.

In 1981, he was raised into the Spanish nobility by King Juan Carlos of Spain and given the hereditary title of "Duque de Suárez" (Duke of Suárez), together with the title Grande de España (English: Grandee of Spain) following his resignation as Prime Minister and in recognition of his role in the transition to democracy. Suárez was awarded the Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia in September 1996 for his role in Spain's early democracy. On 8 June 2007, during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first democratic elections, King Juan Carlos appointed Suárez the 1,193rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.[6] He was also a member of the Club de Madrid, an independent organization (based in Madrid) that is composed of more than 80 former democratic Prime Ministers and Presidents. The group works to strengthen democratic governance and leadership.[7]

Illness and death[edit]

Suarez's grave in the cloister of Ávila Cathedral

On 31 May 2005, Suárez's son, Adolfo Suárez Illana, announced on Spanish television that his father was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The announcement followed speculation about Suárez's health in the Spanish media. On 21 March 2014, his son announced that his death from neurological deterioration was imminent.[8] Suárez then died as a result of a respiratory infection on 23 March 2014 in a clinic in Madrid.[9] Suarez was given a state funeral and was buried in the cloister of Ávila Cathedral.

Pope Francis shared his condolences, saying: "In fraternal suffrage with you all, I make fervent prayers to the Lord for the eternal rest of this esteemed and feature figure of the recent history of Spain."

On 26 March 2014, the Spanish government decided to rename the Madrid-Barajas airport to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas in honour of his service to the country.[10]


Suárez married María del Amparo Illana Elórtegui in 1961.[11] She died from cancer on 17 May 2001. Their elder daughter, María del Amparo ("Mariam") Suárez Illana (1962–2004) was the mother of two children, Alejandra Romero Suárez (born 1990), herself the current holder of her grandfather's dukedom, and Fernando Romero Suárez (born 1993).

The duke's middle daughter, Laura, was born in 1966. Suarez' youngest daughter, María Sonsoles Suárez Illana (born in Madrid in 1967), became a TV news anchor for Antena 3 and married José María Martínez-Bordiú y Bassó de Roviralta (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, who now practises law and is heavily involved with the world of bullfighting and has two sons. Suárez had two more children, his daughter Laura and his son Francisco Javier; both remain unmarried.[contradictory]







Coat of arms of Adolfo Suárez
Great Coat of Arms of Duke of Suárez.svg
He was created Grandee as Duke of Suárez in 1981.
Coronet of Spanish Grandee.
Or, two towers Argent, masoned Sable, surmounted by two eagles volant and combatant Sable on a terrace in base Vert charged with an Escallop Argent.[36]
Order of the Golden Fleece and Order of Charles III collars.
Other elements
An heraldic mantle used by the Spanish Grandee.
The arms of the Castilian branch of Suárez differenced by an Escallop Argent, the traditional emblem of James, son of Zebedee, commonly used in Galicia, because 1st Duke of Suárez's paternal family had Galician origins.
Previous versions
Coat of arms of Adolfo, First Duke of Suárez.svg

Coat of arms bore as knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adolfo Suárez González, 1. duque de Suárez,, at
  2. ^ Payne, S.G. The Franco Regime, 1936–1975. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1987. p 616.
  3. ^ Preston, Paul, "Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy", page 457. Harper Perennial, 2005. ISBN 0-00-638693-8
  4. ^ Cercas, Javier, "The Anatomy of a Moment". Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4088-0560-2.
  5. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey K.; Hogwood, Patricia (2003), The Politics Today companion to West European politics, Manchester University Press, p. 137
  6. ^ BOE 07-06-09, Spanish official journal. Retrieved 9 June 2007.
  7. ^ "Suárez, Adolfo". World Leadership Alliance. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  8. ^ Cué, Francesco Manetto, Carlos E. (21 March 2014). "El hijo de Adolfo Suárez sobre su padre: "El desenlace es inminente"". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  9. ^ Fallece Adolfo Suárez, el presidente de la Transición, El Mundo, 23 March 2014
  10. ^ "El aeropuerto de Madrid se llama desde hoy Adolfo Suárez". El Mundo (in Spanish). 24 March 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Fallece Amparo Illana, esposa de Adolfo Suárez". El País. 18 May 2001.
  12. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado 07-06-09, Spanish Official Journal" (PDF). Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado 14-03-24, Spanish Official Journal" (PDF). Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  14. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado 78-06-23, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  15. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 73-09-29, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  16. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 69-07-18, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  17. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 71-04-05, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  18. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 67-04-01, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  19. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 72-04-01, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 24 March 2014)
  20. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 72-07-18, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  21. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 75-07-04, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  22. ^ Spanish: Boletín Oficial del Estado 70-09-15, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 23 December 2011)
  23. ^ a b "CIDADÃOS ESTRANGEIROS AGRACIADOS COM ORDENS PORTUGUESAS – Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  24. ^ Medalla de Oro de la provincia de Segovia concedida a su Alteza Real Don Juan de Borbón y Battenberg (1991). Segovia. Provincial Council of Segovia. ISBN 84-86789-35-4.
  25. ^ a b Ávila, Diario de. "La "deuda histórica" de Ávila a Suárez". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  26. ^ País, Ediciones El (27 January 2017). "Adolfo Suárez 1932 – 2014". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  27. ^ "ABC (Madrid) – 12/11/1998, p. 71 – Hemeroteca". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  28. ^ "ABC (Madrid) – 01/12/1995, p. 12 – Hemeroteca". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  29. ^ País, Ediciones El (27 January 2017). "Adolfo Suárez 1932 – 2014". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  30. ^ País, Ediciones El (14 September 1996). "Adolfo Suárez premio Príncipe de Asturias por su aportación a la "concordia democrática"". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  31. ^ "Con Adolfo Suárez se va el primer galardonado por la Fundación Premio Convivencia". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  32. ^ País, Ediciones El (30 April 1999). "Suárez, González y Roca hablarán de "España desde la Constitución"". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  33. ^ "Adolfo Suárez, profeta en su tierra". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  34. ^ Press, Europa (30 March 2011). "Adolfo Suárez recibirá la Medalla de Honor de Madrid y Aznar y González la de oro". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  35. ^ Press, Europa (27 March 2014). "El Pleno municipal designa a Adolfo Suárez como Hijo Adoptivo". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  36. ^ (in Spanish) Adolfo Suárez, AMPA Súarez, p. 5 . Retrieved 24 March 2014.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Jesús Aparicio-Bernal
Director General of RTVE
Succeeded by
Rafael Orbe Cano
Political offices
Preceded by
Juan Murillo de Valdivia
Civil Governor of the Province of Segovia
Succeeded by
Mariano Pérez-Hickman Rey
Preceded by
Antonio José García Rodríguez-Acosta
Deputy Secretary General of the Movimiento Nacional
Succeeded by
Antonio Chozas Bermúdez
Preceded by
José Solís
Minister-Secretary General of the Movimiento Nacional
Succeeded by
Ignacio García López
Preceded by
Fernando de Santiago y Díaz
Prime Minister of Spain
Succeeded by
Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo
Party political offices
Preceded by
Office created
President of the Union of the Democratic Centre
Succeeded by
Agustín Rodríguez Sahagún
Preceded by
Office created
President of the Democratic and Social Centre
Succeeded by
Rafael Calvo Ortega
Preceded by
Giovanni Malagodi
President of the Liberal International
Succeeded by
Otto Graf Lambsdorff
Spanish nobility
New creation Duke of Suárez
Succeeded by
Alejandra Romero Suárez