Manuel Fraga Iribarne
Manuel Fraga in 1989
|3rd President of the Xunta of Galicia|
5 February 1990 – 2 August 2005
|Monarch||Juan Carlos I|
|Preceded by||Fernando González Laxe|
|Succeeded by||Emilio Pérez Touriño|
|President of the People's Party|
20 January 1989 – 1 April 1990
|Preceded by||Antonio Hernández Mancha(As President of Popular Alliance)|
|Succeeded by||José María Aznar|
|Second Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of the Interior|
15 December 1975 – 5 July 1976
|Monarch||Juan Carlos I|
|Preceded by||Jose Garcia Hernandez|
|Succeeded by||Rodolfo Martín Villa|
|Minister of Information and Tourism|
10 July 1962 – 29 October 1969
|Preceded by||Gabriel Arias-Salgado|
|Succeeded by||Alfredo Sánchez Bella|
|Member of the Congress of Deputies|
15 June 1977 – 3 July 1987
|Member of the Senate|
7 February 2006 – 27 September 2011
|Born||Manuel Fraga Iribarne
23 November 1922
Vilalba, Galicia, Spain
|Died||15 January 2012
|Political party||People's Party (1989–2012)
People's Alliance (1977–1989)
FET y de las JONS (1962–1977)
|Spouse(s)||Carmen Estévez Eguiagaray|
|Relations||Carmen Fraga Estévez|
|Alma mater||University of Santiago de Compostela|
Manuel Fraga Iribarne (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈnwel ˈfɾaɣa iɾiˈβarne]; 23 November 1922 – 15 January 2012) was a Spanish People's Party politician. Fraga's career as one of the key political figures in Spain straddles both General Francisco Franco's dictatorial regime and the subsequent transition to representative democracy. He served as the President of the Xunta of Galicia from 1990 to 2005 and as a Senator until November 2011.
Between 1962 and 1969 he served as Minister for Information and Tourism, and played a major role in the revitalization of Spanish tourist industry, leading a campaign under the slogan Spain is different!. On 8 March 1966, he attempted to dispel fears of a nuclear accident after the Palomares hydrogen bombs incident by swimming in the contaminated water with the American ambassador, Angier Biddle Duke.
Fraga established himself as one of the more prominent members of a reformist faction in the government who favoured opening up the regime from above. He introduced an a posteriori censorship law, which was based on lifting pre-publication censorship and a reduction in its strictness. Additionally, a certain sexual liberality in films was popularly summarized in the expression Con Fraga hasta la braga ("With Fraga [you can see] even the panties").
First government of the monarchy
After a brief period as Spain's ambassador in the United Kingdom, which ended with Franco's death in 1975, Fraga was appointed vice president of the government (deputy prime minister) and Interior Minister (Ministro de Gobernación) on 12 December 1975, under Carlos Arias Navarro, a post he held until 5 July 1976. This was the first government with Juan Carlos I as chief of state.
Although Fraga was known to favor liberalising the regime from above, he himself favoured an extremely gradual transition to full democracy. The drastic measures he took as interior minister and head of state security during the first days of the Spanish transition to democracy gave him a reputation for heavy-handedness, and deeply damaged his popularity. The phrase "¡La calle es mía!" ("The streets are mine!") was attributed to him as his answer to complaints of police repression of street protests. He claimed that the streets did not belong to "people" but to the state. He was known to be an admirer of Cánovas del Castillo. During a clash at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi between police and striking workers, on Fraga's orders the police stormed into a packed church into which 4,000 demonstrators had retreated and went on a shooting spree, resulting in five dead and over 100 wounded.
Fraga was one of the writers of the new Spanish constitution approved in 1978. Along with other former reformist members of Franco's regime, he founded the People's Alliance (Alianza Popular – AP), and became its president. Although he tried to brand the party as a mainstream conservative party, the people did not trust him due to large number of former Francoists in the party, combined with his performance as interior minister. The party fared poorly in its first years, but after the 1982 crisis and the collapse of the UCD, the centrist party that had won the first two democratic elections, AP became the second party in Spain.
Fraga was reckoned as the Leader of the Opposition to the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government. The PSOE enjoyed great popularity and an absolute majority winning streak in the 1982 and 1986 elections, in part because Fraga and the AP were generally viewed as too reactionary to be an alternative. Following this critical development, Fraga resigned the presidency of the party in 1986. He suffered a scandal in 1983, when it was reported that Rodolfo Almirón, a former Argentine national police officer implicated in Triple A, a right-wing death squad in Argentina, was part of his security team. Because of the outcry, Fraga dismissed Almirón.
With the AP in headlong decline, Fraga resumed the leadership of the party in 1989. With the addition of several lesser Christian democratic parties and the remnants of the Democratic Center Union, he refounded the People's Alliance as the People's Party (Partido Popular – PP). Later in the same year, Fraga encouraged the election of José María Aznar as the party's new president. Fraga was then appointed as honorary president of the PP.
Presidency of the Xunta of Galicia
Manuel Fraga returned to his Galician homeland in 1989, winning that year's presidential election as head of the People's Party in Galicia (PPdeG), which had won a one-seat majority in the election. He remained in charge for almost 15 years until 2005, when the PPdeG lost its overall majority.
Fraga saw his credibility damaged in late 2002, when the oil tanker ship Prestige sank off the Galician coast. It caused a massive oil spill that affected the shoreline in the northwest of the region. Fraga was said to have been slow to react and unable, or unwilling, to handle the situation. In 2004, a power struggle between factions of PPdeG further hurt the party's image.
Subsequently, in the autonomous elections of 2005, Fraga and the PPdeG lost their absolute majority in the Parliament of Galicia. Despite their obtaining a 45% plurality in the elections, a left-government coalition developed between the Socialists' Party of Galicia (PSdeG) and the Galician Nationalist Bloc, making socialist Emilio Pérez Touriño the new president. Fraga remained on the political scene from Galicia, as a member of the Senate representing the Parliament of Galicia. Alberto Núñez Feijóo, a member of the Galician Popular Party, has been the PPdG head since late 2005.
Fraga was designated as a Senator by the Galicia Parliament in 2008.
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Fraga was one of the writers of the democratic constitution and spent part of his political career lessening the censorship law during the latter years of the Franco dictatorship. However he had openly admitted admiration for General Franco and the regime in public on several different occasions. He was renowned for his temper tantrums in public at not being referred to or addressed as Don Manuel. He most famously shouted during a television interview, completely unaware the camera was filming and the show was being broadcast live on air. Manuel Fraga Iribarne was probably one of the most important and yet controversial politicians in modern Spain.
To his supporters, Fraga was a Galician hero who throughout his rule, modernised Galicia and built up a fair level of tourism to the region. He built great roads and motorways and in 2000, he approved the Galician Plan to build Spain's first high speed bullet train. However to his opponents he was an authoritarian relic of the Franco era who failed to lift Galicia and its people out of poverty and unemployment.
Despite their political differences, he maintained a friendship with Fidel Castro, himself of Galician descent, who visited him in Galicia in 1992.
- Rodolfo Almirón, former leader of the Argentine terrorist group Triple A and chief of Manuel Fraga's personal security
- Carmen Fraga Estévez, daughter and EU official.
- Palomares incident
- Politics: Obituaries The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Paul Geitner, "Spanish Town Struggles to Forget Its Moment on the Brink of a Nuclear Cataclysm", The New York Times, 12 September 2008, page A13.
- Note to Estudios sobre Buero Vallejo, ed. Mariano de Paco, Alicante : Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2000.
- Jaime Campmany attributes the doggerel to César González-Ruano. La falda de Marilyn, ABC, 31 August 2002.
- "Spanish Ministries". Rulers. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- José María Maravall; Adam Przeworski (2003). Democracy and the Rule of Law. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 287. Retrieved 20 December 2013. – via Questia (subscription required)
- (Spanish) 25 January 2006 "¡La calle es mía!" El Pais Retrieved 13 April 2009
- "Detienen en Valencia al ex dirigente de la Triple A Argentina Almirón Sena" (Ex director of Triple A in Argentina, Almirón Sena, arrested in Valencia", El Mundo, 28 December 2006 (Spanish)
- 1989 Galician election
- Spain Franco-era politician Fraga dies, aged 89 BBC
- Spain’s Crown Prince, PM Attend Funeral Mass for Manuel Fraga Herald Tribune
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manuel Fraga Iribarne.|
- Manuel Fraga death's announcement Antena3
- PPdeG's official website for the 2005 elections (in Galician)
- Biography of Manuel Fraga (in English)