Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, 1st Marquis of the Ría de Ribadeo

The Most Excellent
The Marquis of the Ría de Ribadeo
74th President of the Government of Spain
2nd of Democratic Spain
In office
25 February 1981 – 1 December 1982
Monarch Juan Carlos I
Vice President Rodolfo Martín Villa (1981–1982)
Juan Antonio García Díez (1982)
Preceded by Adolfo Suárez
Succeeded by Felipe González
6th Second Vice President of the Government of Spain
3rd of Democratic Spain (since 1977)
In office
9 September 1980 – 25 February 1981
President Adolfo Suárez
Preceded by Fernando Abril
Succeeded by Juan Antonio García Díez
Minister of Public Works
In office
4 July 1976 – 1976
President Adolfo Suárez
Preceded by Antonio Valdés González-Roldán
Succeeded by Carlos Pérez de Bricio Olarriaga (acting)
Personal details
Born 14 April 1926(1926-04-14)
Madrid, Spain
Died 3 May 2008(2008-05-03) (aged 82)
Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain
Resting place Ribadeo Cemetery, Galicia, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Political party UCD
Spouse(s) María del Pilar Ibáñez-Martín y Mellado
Children 8
Religion Roman Catholicism

Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo y Bustelo, 1st Marquis of the Ría of Ribadeo and Grandee of Spain (Spanish pronunciation: [leoˈpoldo ˈkalβosoˈtelo i βusˈtelo]; 14 April 1926 – 3 May 2008) was a Spanish political figure and prime minister during the period of transition after the end of Francisco Franco's regime.



Calvo-Sotelo was born into a prominent political family of and in Madrid on 14 April 1926.[1] His father was writer Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo.[2] His uncle José Calvo Sotelo was Finance Minister of Spain under Miguel Primo de Rivera.[1] Calvo-Sotelo graduated as a Civil Engineer by the School of Civil Engineers of Madrid now part of the Technical University of Madrid, working in the area of applications of chemistry to the industry.[1]

He was president of RENFE (Spanish national railroad network) between 1967–1968. Calvo-Sotelo was elected solicitor (Deputy) of Franco's Cortes, representing industrialists in the Union of Chemical Industries, in 1971.[1] A monarchist, Sotelo was one of the founders of an association of politicians, mostly of Rightists and Center Rightists, which disguised as the Fedisa publishing firm helped Spain's peaceful transition into democracy.[1]

Calvo-Sotelo was designated Minister of Commerce by Carlos Arias Navarro to be in the first government of the Monarchy (December 1975 – July 1976).[1] He advocated total destruction of Franco's ideals instead of mere superficial changes that politicians like Navarro planned.[1] Calvo-Sotelo was kept in the cabinet of Adolfo Suárez upon his succession to premiership in 1976 and directed several centre-right and centre-left political associations into one party, the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD).[1] The UCD won in both the June 1977 and the March 1979 elections[1] and Calvo-Sotelo was elected MP for Madrid.

Suárez decided to keep him in the Cabinet, first from 1978 to 1980 as Minister for Relations of the European Economic Community, then as Second Vicepresident in charge of economic affairs.[1] After the resignation of Suárez on 29 January 1981, he was supposed to be appointed president (Presidente del Gobierno) on 23 February, and advocated Spain's proposed entry into NATO as soon as possible.[1] However, on that date a session of the Congress of Deputies was interrupted by the attempted coup of 23-F.[1] After the failed coup, his appointment as Prime Minister was confirmed on 25 February by the vote of all the UCD members of the congress and 21 others as well, giving him a majority of 186 to 158.[1] Splits in the UCD group led to the formation of three rival parties, the Democratic Action Party (Partido de Acción Democrática/PAD), which soon merged with the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) the Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) and Democratic Popular Party (PDP) resulting in the UCD being unable to count on sufficient support in the legislature. Fresh elections were called, resulting in a heavy defeat for the UCD, which won only 12 seats at the 1982 election compared to 168 in 1979. He served as president until 1 December 1982 and was succeeded by the socialist Felipe González.[1]

Calvo-Sotelo was also a Member of the Club of Madrid[3] and of the Spanish Royal Academy of Engineering. He died at his home in Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid on 3 May 2008.[1]

He was married to María del Pilar Ibáñez-Martín y Mellado and had eight children:

  • Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Madrid, 4 September 1957), 2nd Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo, married to Cristina Egea y Gutiérrez-Cortines.
  • Juan Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Madrid, 14 November 1958), married to Lucía Fernández y Cartuxo
  • María del Pilar Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Madrid, 20 October 1959), married to Carlos Delclaux y Zulueta
  • Pedro Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Madrid, 20 December 1960), married to María Alvarez-Cascos y Gómez de Arteche
  • Víctor Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Madrid, 24 November 1961), unmarried and without issue
  • José María Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Madrid, 2 May 1964), unmarried and without issue
  • Andrés Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Lisbon, 14 August 1965), twin with the below, unmarried and without issue
  • Pablo Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (b. Lisbon, 14 August 1965), twin with the above, married to Elvira García-Bellido y Capdevilla


  • Mclean, Renwick (2006). "Spain Takes a Proud Look Back." International Herald Tribune. 24 February.
  • Preston, Paul (1990). The Triumph of Democracy in Spain. London: Routledge.
  • Rogers, Eamonn and Valerie Rogers, eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture. London: Routledge.
  • Walker, Jane (2006). "The Day Freedom Was Put in Peril." The Irish Times. 23 February.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo: Post-Franco Prime Minister of Spain who survived an attempted coup and was determined to see the country join Nato". The Times (UK). 5 May 2008. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3872364.ece. Retrieved 13 May 2008. 
  2. ^ http://www.geneall.net/H/per_page.php?id=467850
  3. ^ Club of Madrid The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government.

External links

Media related to Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, 1st Marquis of the Ría de Ribadeo at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Adolfo Suárez
Escudo de España (colores THV).svg
President of the Government of Spain

Succeeded by
Felipe González

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