Biography of José María Aznar López (1953-VVVV)

José María Aznar.

Spanish politician, born in Madrid on February 25, 1953, who was President of the Government between 1996 and 2004.

Coming from a family of Navarrese origin, the grandfather which has been the fourth President of the Government of the democratic Spain, Manuel Aznar Zubigaray, was Ambassador of Spain, among other places, to the UN, and founded and directed various titles of press in the Basque country, Madrid and Barcelona. His father, Manuel Aznar Acedo, bilbaino birth, developed most of his career on the radio and, after the Civil War, occupied the general Sub-Directorate of broadcasting at the Ministry of information and tourism.

The young José María made secondary education at the Colegio Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Madrid, while fought in front of students trade unionists (FES), organization of Catholic character. He/She studied law at the Complutense University of Madrid and graduated in 1975. Subsequently, it opositó to the body of wardens of State finance and in 1976 became a part of the civil service of the Ministry of finance. A year later, José María Aznar married Ana Botella. The couple would be born three children; José María, Ana and Alonso.

For in Logroño in 1978, was in the capital of La Rioja, where he/she began to be known in political circles with the publication of a series of articles in the local press, which was critical of the new territorial organization of the State established in title VIII of the Spanish Constitution.

On 17 January 1979, Aznar joined to Popular Alliance (AP), a party of conservative court set up in 1977 and which, until the beginning of 1978, had operated as a Federation of seven groupings. But then AP was already a unitary force, gathered under the leadership of Manuel Fraga Iribarne, former Minister of information and tourism. That same year, after AP received only 6% of the votes and nine seats in the legislative elections of March 1, 1979, Aznar was appointed general Secretary of the party in La Rioja. He/She served until 1980.

In February 1981, on the occasion of the IV National Congress of AP, he/she was appointed national Vice-Secretary of autonomous communities and regions, and entered the National Board of the party. A year later, the fifth National Conference appointed him Deputy Secretary general Jorge Verstrynge.

He premiered the Act of Parliament, in the province of Ávila, in the general election of 1982, which became the second force in the Chamber of Deputies with 106 seats to AP. During the second legislature, Aznar was second of the Constitutional Commission and Member Secretary of budgets committees, regime of administrations and mixed for matters related to the Court of Auditors. In the general election of 1986 renewed his seat, and in the new legislature intervened as a vowel in the committees on Budgets and parliamentary Control of RTVE.

Within the party, in January of 1984 he/she assumed the overall coordination in the area of regional policy and Local and the 22 of June of 1985 reached the Presidency of AP in Castile and Leon. In the month of January 1987, it gave its support to the critical group led by Miguel Herrero y Rodríguez de Miñón, proposing a doctrine of "popular liberalism" in the contention by the succession of Manuel Fraga, who had submitted his resignation after the electoral results of the previous year. The 8th National Congress, held on February 7, extraordinary won the candidacy of Antonio Hernández Mancha; circumstance that travelled to Aznar the spokespersons of the Parliamentary Commission on Social Affairs and the Assistant General Secretary of the party, although it continued in the National Executive Secretary of political education.

Abandoned his seat in Madrid, on June 10, 1987 he/she was elected solicitor of the courts of Castilla and Leon, and on July 21, was inducted Chairman of the Board with the support of his party and the CDS. Six days later he/she took possession of a position which represented a strong boost in the race of the future President of the Government, because it placed him in the crosshairs of the leadership of the party for a next generational renewal.

After the failure of the experience of Hernández Mancha, Manuel Fraga returned to the national presidency of the party in the IX Congress held in January 1989. The return of the veteran Conservative leader allowed the promotion of Aznar, who was appointed first Vice President for Economic Affairs.

The 9th Congress, later dubbed "Refoundation Congress", laid the foundations of a new political project. AP became known as Partido Popular (PP) and absorbed elements of the Liberal Party, and the Christian Democrats, led by Javier Rupérez, enriched with less conservative ideological nuances.

In this new political adventure, the figure of Aznar is set as the candidate best suited to the Presidency of the Government in the face of the elections in the autumn of 1989. Proven their suitability by the popular directors, on September 4, 1989 the National Executive Committee of the PP, with 211 votes in favour and five blank, confirmed to Aznar as a candidate for the Presidency of the Government. To meet its new responsibilities, he/she resigned from the post of head of the Executive of the Board of Castilla y Leon on behalf of Jesús Posada. Since that time, and although Fraga was the nominal President of the formation, José María Aznar took the exercise leading to the Partido Popular.

In the elections of October 29, 1989, the PP managed to 25.8% of the votes and 107 members; results that Aznar became the new leader of the opposition as the first PSOE Deputy for Madrid and spokesman of the popular parliamentary group.

El X Congreso Nacional of the PP, held in the spring of 1990 under the slogan 'Freedom in centric' devoted leadership of Aznar, who, at this time, took possession of the national presidency of the party. In his proclamation speech, Aznar offered a "freedom project" and claimed the center of the political spectrum. Advance from positions more conservative towards a pragmatic centre-right of European Court predicted a noticeable growth in the electoral expectations of Aznar. On the other hand, the scandals that dotted the Government of Felipe González, such as the Organization of the Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberation (GAL), the squandering of public money or the detected scandals at the top of the Bank of Spain and the Civil Guard; together with the increase in unemployment, they announced the loss of confidence of much of the Socialist electorate.

The legislative elections of 1993 returned to deal with González y Aznar. The leading Socialist repeated triumph although the PP managed to grab the 34.8% of the vote and forced the PSOE to govern with simple majority. The party also reaped good results in the European elections of 1994 and in the municipal and regional 1995, sparking euphoria among the popular.

On April 19, 1995, a month before the regional elections, Aznar was precisely aim of a terrorist car bomb attack as he/she traveled with his vehicle at the confluence of the Madrid Arturo Soria and José Silva streets. The shield on the car saved the life of the leader of the opposition and his bodyguards. The attack was attributed to the ETA Madrid command.

In January 1996 and with an eye on the March 3 elections, the PP XII Congress proclaimed again Aznar candidate to the Presidency of the Government. In the aforementioned general elections the popular were victorious and José María Aznar was commissioned to form a Government. The PP received 9.4 million votes (37.6%), which resulted in a simple parliamentary majority of 154 deputies, and that forced Aznar to bargain with center-right nationalist parties agreements to ensure the governability of the State. The PP closed bilateral agreements with convergence and Union (CiU), the Basque nationalist party (PNV) and coalition Canaria (CC).

José María Aznar, President of the Government of Spanish since 1996

Got the necessary support, the 4 of May 1996 and the second session of the debate on the investiture, Aznar was inducted President in the Congress of Deputies with 181 votes of popular, convergent, peneuvistas and Canaries. The next day, completed the constitutional oath in the presence of King Juan Carlos at the palacio de la Zarzuela to become President number 97 in the history of Spain and fourth since the restoration of democracy. At the inauguration, the popular leader announced a new style of Government based on the "open dialogue" with all the social actors and in a program that defined as "focused and centrist, reformist and reformer".

His appointment was published on Sunday, may 5 by Royal Decree, in a special edition of the official bulletin of the State, and that same afternoon, the new President made public the composition of his first cabinet, the fifteenth since the adoption of the Constitution in 1978.

To form a Government, Aznar surrounded himself with his men. For the first Vice-Presidency and the Ministry of the Presidency elected Francisco Cascos Fernández, and spokesman of the parliamentary group reserved the second Vice-Presidency and the Ministry of economy and finance Rodrigo Rato Figaredo, until then for.

It reduced the number of Ministers to fourteen, in front of which registered to ten men and four women. Also recovered the ancient name for promotion to refer to the Department which took the name of public works and transport in democracy, and separated the portfolios of Justice and Home Affairs, the former President González had merged in his last Cabinet. It unified in a single Department of education and culture on one hand, and labour and Social Affairs on the other, and for the first time created a Ministry dedicated exclusively to environment.

Aznar has set as basic tasks of trimming the deficit in the accounts of the State management, pay off debts, stifle inflation and stimulate the employment-generating activity; then, the active population unemployment rate was 22.9%. Formulas applied to achieve their goals were, among others, policy deregulation, the reduction of the weight of the State in the economy, the Elimination of senior members of the Administration, general privatization of public enterprises and the emphasis on the liberalization of currency, starting with a lowering of interest rates.

Aznar's economic team soon achieved positive results in the form of stable growth and financial situation, which allowed the country to face with confidence the compliance with the convergence criteria required for participating in the third stage of economic and Monetary Union in January 1999: government deficit not exceeding 3% of GDP; accumulated public debt not exceeding 60% of GDP, average no higher inflation by 1.5 points to the average of the three Member States with the lowest rate; types of nominal long-term interest not exceeding 2 points the average of the three States with the most reduced prices; and maintenance of the peseta in the fluctuation band fixed by the mechanisms of change of the European monetary system (EMS), at least two annual exercises.

On March 12, 2000 José María Aznar presented himself for re-election in the legislative elections and attained an absolute majority with 183 MEPs. Among the novelties of the new legislature, he/she noted the emergence of a new Ministry, the science and technology, in front of which stood a Minister, Anna Birulés, one of the new women who entered the Cabinet of Aznar next Celia Villalobos, former Mayor of Málaga, who went on to manage the Ministry of health, and Pilar de el CastilloHe did the same in education, culture and sports. The Prime Minister confirmed in office the economy Minister, Rodrigo Rato, also second Vice-Chair, and created the Ministry of finance, where placed Cristóbal Montoro. For his part, Rajoy became occupies the first Vice-Presidency and the Ministry of the Presidency, thereby becoming the number two in the Government.

A year after the establishment of the Government, Aznar had to reshape his Cabinet. Jaime Mayor Oreja abandoned the Interior portfolio to present his candidacy for President in the Basque Autonomous Community elections and Mariano Rajoy was his replacement in the Ministry. To assume the new post, Vice President first left at the same time the Ministry of Presidency was occupied by Juan José Lucas, up to then Chief Executive in Castilla y León. On July 9, 2002, fulfilled half of the legislature, the President undertook the greatest crisis of Government since landing in La Moncloa and resolved it with a second remodeling of his cabinet which included six dismissals, five new additions and three changes of portfolio. Only seven of the sixteen ministers of the former Executive held identical charge after presidential reshuffle. Juan José Lucas (Chair), Juan Carlos Aparicio (work), Jesús Posadas (public administrations), Celia Villalobos (health), Anna Birulés (science and technology) and Pío Cabanillas (spokesman) left the ministerial team, while Ana Palacio (outdoor), José María Michavila (Justice), Eduardo Zaplana (work), Javier Arenas (public administration) and Ana Pastor (health) formalized the new revenue. The third remodeling of the Government formed after the 2000 election came on March 9, 2003, when Elvira Rodríguez was elected head of environment instead of Jaume Matas, who left the Ministry to present his candidacy for the leadership of the Balearic Government imminent regional elections.

A few months before the end of the legislature, the President still rushed last ministerial adjustment to reorganize the Executive after the departure of Mariano Rajoy, named successor to Aznar in the General Secretariat of the popular, and Josep Piqué, the Catalan elections candidate. Rodrigo Rato became Vice President first, while Eduardo Zaplana took the work of Government spokesman. Javier Arenas occupied the second Vice-Presidency and Presidency portfolio and ceded his position in public administrations to Julia García Valdecasas, until then the Government representative in Catalonia. Finally, Juan Costa took the vacancy of Pique in science and technology.

During the XIV Congress of the PP in Madrid held the last weekend of January 2002, Aznar confirmed their intention to not be up for re-election, something unusual in modern Spanish politics, and allow the succession after eight years in Government. Secretary general, he/she was appointed National Chairman of the party and Javier Arenas. Clarified the future of President Aznar, began the race for succession within the party. At the time they sounded forcefully names Jaime Mayor Oreja, Mariano Rajoy and Rodrigo Rato.

The mystery unfolded after the summer of 2003: Mariano Rajoy was the candidate of the party at the general election of March 2004. On 3 September 2003, Galician politician was appointed Secretary general of the Popular Party and candidate for the general elections of 2004 by the National Executive Committee. Javier Arenas became Deputy Secretary-General.

The absolute majority in the general elections of 2000 led to a political line disjoint pacts with other political formations, which triggered some moments of tension from 2002. The achievements of the Government during the seventh session were exhibit a balanced budget, certifying a respectable economic growth and put the unemployment rate at 11%. The fight against the terrorism of ETA was one of the priorities of the Cabinet throughout the legislature.

The difficulty of the second term of José María Aznar were related to issues like illegal immigration, which sought to tackle and resolve various reforms of the Aliens Act; the general strike of June 2002; the ecological catastrophe of the Prestige; the application of the law of quality of education; the strong increase in the price of housing; and the intensification of tensions with catalan and Basque nationalism.

Distancing itself from the pro-European foreign policy that Spain had prioritized until then, Aznar opted for a Western line that represented a clear approach to the US President George W. Bush, especially following the attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York. The decision of Aznar's align themselves with the U.S. position in favor of an armed intervention in Iraq, despite having the rest of the Spanish political formations and a good part of the citizenry against, was one of the most controversial issues of the last months of his administration.

Aznar dismissed the Government in a political moment deeply marked by the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 191 people in Madrid on March 11, 2004. In the general election, held three days later, the PP was defeated. The popular obtained 148 deputies, far from the 183 seats in previous elections. Away from the tasks of Government, José María Aznar took over the task of presiding over the Foundation for analysis and social studies (FAES). On 21 April 2005 he/she entered the Council of State.

José María Aznar is the author of freedom and solidarity, (1991); and Spain: the second transition, (1994). In September 1990, Alfonso Osorio presented in Madrid the flight of the Falcon, first research book written by journalist Graciano Palomo on the personal and political life of the popular leader. In May 2004, the former President presented in Madrid eight years of rule; a reflection on the period that was head of the Executive power in Spain. A year later, Aznar placed in bookstores his second work: portraits and profiles. From Fraga to Bush.

Government cabinets

VI legislature (1996-2000)

First Vice President and Minister of the Presidency: Francisco Cascos Fernández.Minister of Foreign Affairs: Abel Matutes and Juan.Minister of Justice: Margarita Mariscal Ghent and Miron.Minister of Defense: Eduardo Serra Rexach.Second Vice President and Minister of economy and finance: Rodrigo Rato y Figaredo.Interior Minister: Jaime Mayor Oreja.Minister of public works: Rafael Arias Salgado and Montalvo.Minister of education and culture: Esperanza Aguirre (until January 1999); Mariano Rajoy Brey.Minister of labour and Social Affairs: Javier Arenas Bocanegra (until January 1999), Manuel Pimentel (up to February 2000), and Juan Carlos Aparicio.Minister of industry and energy: Josep Piqué i Camps.Minister of agriculture, fisheries and food: Loyola de Palacio (until April 1999); Jesús María Posada Moreno.Minister of public administration: Mariano Rajoy Brey (until January 1999); Ángel Acebes Paniagua.Minister of environment: Isabel Bacon Biscarolasaga.Minister of health and consumption: José Manuel Romay Beccaria.

VII legislature (2000-2004)

First Vice President and Minister of the Presidency: Mariano Rajoy Brey. In February 2001 he/she assumed the Ministry of Interior to replace Jaime MayorOreja, preserves the vice-chairmanship and gives the Ministry of the Presidency to Juan José Lucas. In July 2002 he/she left inside, keeps vice-chairmanship, recover Presidency and assumes the post of Minister spokesman. In September 2003 the Government abandons: Rodrigo Rato holds the first Vice-Presidency, Javier Arenas the Ministry of Presidency and Eduardo Zaplana the work of second Portavoz.Vicepresidente and economy Minister: Rodrigo Rato y Figaredo. In September 2003 he/she assumed the vice-chairmanship.Minister of Foreign Affairs: Josep Piqué i Camps. Transferred in July 2002 to science and technology, yields the portfolio to Ana Palacio.Minister of Justice: Ángel Acebes Paniagua. In July 2002 it takes inside and gives justice to José María Michavila.Defense Minister: Federico Trillo.Interior Minister: Jaime Mayor Oreja. Appointed candidate for lehendakari in February 2001 and relieved in the Ministry by Mariano Rajoy Brey. Leaving Interior in July 2002 and is replaced by Ángel Acebes.Ministro of Finance: Cristóbal Montoro.Development Minister: Francisco Cascos Fernández.Minister of education, culture and sports: Pillar of the Castillo.Minister of labour and Social Affairs: Juan Carlos Aparicio. In July 2002, is replaced by Eduardo Zaplana, who in September 2003 in addition the post is Portavoz.Ministro Minister of agriculture, fisheries and food: Miguel Arias Cañete.Minister of public administrations: Jesús Posada Moreno. Replaced in July 2002 by Javier Arenas. In September 2003 the portfolio yields to Julia García Valdecasas and assumes the second Vice-Presidency and the Ministry of environment Presidencia.Ministro: Jaume Matas. Replaced in March 2003 by Elvira Rodríguez.Minister of health and consumption: Celia Villalobos. Replaced in July 2002 by Ana Pastor.Minister of science and technology: Anna Birulés. In July 2002 replaced Josep pique. In September 2003 he/she becomes Juan Costa.Minister spokesperson: Pío Cabanillas. Replaced in July 2002 by Mariano Rajoy. Replaced in September 2003 by Eduardo Zaplana.