Adolfo Suárez, 1st Duke of Suárez

The Most Excellent
Adolfo Suárez
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
3 July 1976 – 25 February 1981
Monarch Juan Carlos I
Deputy Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado
Preceded by Fernando de Santiago y Díaz
Succeeded by Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo
Member of the Congress of Deputies
for Madrid
In office
28 October 1982 – 26 May 1991
Personal details
Born Adolfo Suárez y González
25 August 1932 (1932-08-25) (age 79)
Cebreros, Castile and León Spain
Nationality Spanish
Political party CDS
Other political
FET de la JONS
Spouse(s) María Amparo Illana y Elórtegui
Children 6
Alma mater Salamanca University
Occupation Jurist
Religion Roman Catholicism

Adolfo Suárez y González, 1st Duke of Suárez, Grandee of Spain, KOGF (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈðolfo ˈswaɾeθ]; born 25 September 1932) is a Spanish lawyer and politician. Suárez was Spain's first democratically elected prime minister after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and the key figure in the country's transition to democracy.



He is a son of Hipólito Suárez Guerra and Herminia González Prados (Ávila, 1910 – 18 July 2006), and the brother of Doña María del Carmen Suárez González, who is married to Aurelio Delgado Martín[1]


Suárez studied Law at Salamanca University, and held several government posts during the late Francoist regime.

He became the Minister Secretary General of the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional), a body that served as sole political party, for 18 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 democratization was inevitable.[2] Suárez was appointed as the 138th Prime Minister of Spain by the Spanish King Juan Carlos on 4 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 country. Surprising many observers and political opponents, Suárez introduced Political Reform in 1976 as a first, decisive step in the Transition (La Transición) to democracy.

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-Franco regime.

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 25 January 1981.[3] 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 be renamed Liberal and Progressive International, and Suárez became President of the Liberal International[4] in 1989. He retired from active politics in 1991, for personal reasons.

Suárez was awarded the Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia award in September 1996, in recognition of his important personal contribution to Spanish democracy. The King of Spain made him Duke of Suárez in 1981. On 8 June 2007, during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first democratic elections, King Juan Carlos I appointed Suárez the 1,193rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece for his important role during the Spanish transition to democracy.[5]


Suárez's wife, María del Amparo Illana y Elórtegui, and elder daughter, María del Amparo ("Marian") Suárez y Illana, suffered and died from cancer (on 17 May 2001 and 7 March 2004, respectively). The younger María del Amparo ("Marian") was born in 1962; in 1998, she married Fernando Romero y …, to whom she gave two children, Alejandra Romero y Suárez (b. 1990) and Fernando Romero y Suárez (b. 1993).

Another daughter, María Sonsoles Suárez y Illana (born in Madrid in 1967), became a TV news anchor for Antena 3 and married José María Martínez-Bordiú y Bassó de Roviralta, born in Madrid on 22 November 1962 and 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 and now practises law and is heavily involved with the world of bullfighting. Suárez had two more children, his daughter Laura and his son Javier, both unmarried and without issue.


On 31 May 2005, Suárez's son, Adolfo Suárez Illana, announced on Spanish television that his father was suffering from Alzheimer's disease (or a similar illness), which meant that he could no longer remember his period as Prime Minister of Spain. The announcement followed speculation about Suárez's health in the Spanish media.


  1. ^ [1]
  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 0006386938
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ BOE 07-06-09, Spanish official journal, accessed 9 June 2007.

See also

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Jesús Aparicio-Bernal Sánchez
Director General of RTVE
Succeeded by
Rafael Orbe
Political offices
Preceded by
Fernando de Santiago y Díaz
Prime Minister of Spain
Succeeded by
Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo
Party political offices
Preceded by
President of the Liberal International
Succeeded by
Otto Graf Lambsdorff
Spanish nobility
New creation Duke of Suárez

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