The Duke of Suárez
|Prime Minister of Spain|
3 July 1976 - 25 February 1981
|Monarch||Juan Carlos I|
|Deputy||Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado|
|Fernando de Santiago y Díaz|
|Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo|
|Minister-Secretary General of the Movimiento Nacional|
12 December 1975 - 6 July 1976
|President||Carlos Arias Navarro|
|Ignacio García López|
|Director-General of the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation|
14 May 1969 - 25 June 1973
|Civil Governor of the Province of Segovia|
31 May 1968 - 7 November 1969
|Juan Murillo de Valdivia|
|Member of the Congress of Deputies|
22 July 1977 - 26 October 1991
Adolfo Suárez González
25 September 1932
Cebreros, Ávila, Spain
|Died||23 March 2014 (aged 81)|
|Resting place||Cathedral of Ávila|
|FET y de las JONS|
Union of the Democratic Centre
Democratic and Social Centre
Amparo Illana Elórtegui
(m. 1961; died 2001)
|Children||María Amparo (1963-2004)|
Adolfo (b. 1964)
Laura (b. 1966)
Sonsoles (b. 1967)
Francisco Javier (b. 1969)
|Parents||Hipólito Suárez Guerra |
Herminia González Prados
|Alma mater||Salamanca University|
Adolfo Suárez González, 1st Duke of Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [a'ðolfo 'swa?e?]; 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 military 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, which made a lot of political forces sceptical about 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.
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. He was born in Cebreros. He later studied law at Salamanca University.
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. 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. 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. 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. He retired from active politics in 1991, for personal reasons.
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. 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.
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. Suárez then died as a result of a respiratory infection on 23 March 2014 in a clinic in Madrid. 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."
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Suárez married María del Amparo Illana Elórtegui in 1961. 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 (b. 1990), herself the current holder of her grandfather's dukedom, and Fernando Romero Suárez (b. 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 bore as knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
| Director General of RTVE
Rafael Orbe Cano
Juan Murillo de Valdivia
| Civil Governor of the Province of Segovia
Mariano Pérez-Hickman Rey
Antonio José García Rodríguez-Acosta
| Deputy Secretary General of the Movimiento Nacional
Antonio Chozas Bermúdez
| Minister-Secretary General of the Movimiento Nacional
Ignacio García López
Fernando de Santiago y Díaz
| Prime Minister of Spain
|Party political offices|
| President of the Union of the Democratic Centre
Agustín Rodríguez Sahagún
| President of the Democratic and Social Centre
Rafael Calvo Ortega
| President of the Liberal International
Otto Graf Lambsdorff
|New creation|| Duke of Suárez
Alejandra Romero Suárez