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Mariano Rajoy Brey (; born 27 March 1955) is a Spanish politician who served as
Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no, Presidente del Gobierno de España), commonly referred to in Spain as ''Presidente del Gobierno'', and known in English as the prime minister of Spain, is the head of government of Spain. ...
from 2011 to 2018, when a
vote of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, manager ...
ousted his government. On 5 June 2018, he announced his resignation as People's Party leader. He became Leader of the People's Party in 2004 and Prime Minister in 2011 following the People's Party
landslide victory A landslide victory is an result in which the victorious candidate or party wins by an overwhelming margin. The term became popular in the 1800s to describe a victory in which the opposition is "buried", similar to the way in which a geological b ...
in that year's
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
becoming the sixth President of the Spanish Government. The party lost its majority in the
2015 general election This national electoral calendar for 2015 lists the national/Federation, federal direct elections that were held in 2015 in all List of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-elections are e ...
, but after that election ended in deadlock, a second election in 2016 enabled Rajoy to be reelected Prime Minister as head of a minority government. Rajoy was a Minister under the
José María Aznar José María Alfredo Aznar López (; born 25 February 1953) is a Spanish politician who was the Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004. He led the People's Party (PP), the dominant centre-right Centre-right politics (British English ...
administration, occupying different leading roles in different Ministries between 1996 and 2003, and he also was the Deputy Prime Minister between 2000 and 2003. He was the Leader of the Opposition between 2004 and 2011 under
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
's government. Rajoy's first term was heavily marked by the Spanish financial crisis and oversaw a major restructuring of the Spanish financial system as well as a major labour reform. The financial crisis peaked with a bailout of the Spanish banking system in June 2012. Unemployment in Spain peaked at 27% in 2012, which led to an initial drop of the People's Party in the polls, which was aggravated by the revelations of a series of corruption cases that seriously damaged the party's reputation. This, among other factors, led to a profound shift in the Spanish party system, with the rise of new political parties from the left and the right:
PodemosPodemos may refer to: *Podemos (Bolivia), Bolivian political party *Podemos (Spanish political party), Spanish political party *Podemos (Guatemala), Guatemalan political party *Podemos (Venezuela), Venezuelan political party *Juntos Podemos Más, Chi ...
and
Citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
. The
2015 general election This national electoral calendar for 2015 lists the national/Federation, federal direct elections that were held in 2015 in all List of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-elections are e ...
led to a parliamentary configuration that made the formation of a government very difficult; as a result, Spain was without a government for over six months and new elections were held in June 2016. Rajoy was finally appointed Prime Minister with the support of the
Citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
party and the abstention of the
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a social-democraticThe PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources: * * * * political party A political party is an organi ...
. Rajoy's second term was marked by economic recovery and a drop in unemployment and the challenge of stagnating salaries. Rajoy also oversaw the 2017–18 Spanish constitutional crisis marked by the Catalan independence referendum of 2017 and the Catalan unilateral declaration of independence on 27 October 2017 that led to the imposition of direct rule in Catalonia. At 14 years and 146 days, Rajoy was the longest-serving Spanish politician in the
Government of Spain gl, Goberno de España eu, Espainiako Gobernua , image = , caption = Logo of the Government of Spain , headerstyle = background-color: #efefef , label1 = Role , data1 = Executive power The executive (short for exe ...
since the
Spanish transition to democracy The Spanish transition to democracy, known in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...
, having held ministerial offices continuously from 1996 to 2004 and from 2011 to 2018.


Early life and education

Born 27 March 1955 in
Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the S ...

Santiago de Compostela
,
A Coruña A Coruña (; Spanish language, Spanish: ''La Coruña'', Help:IPA/Spanish, a koˈɾuɲa historical English language, English: Corunna or The Groyne) is a city and municipality of Galicia (Spain), Galicia, Spain. It is the second most populated ...
,
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
, Rajoy is the grandson of Enrique Rajoy Leloup, one of the architects of the Galician Statute of Autonomy (1936) (''Estatuto de autonomía de Galicia''), who was removed from university teaching by the
Franco dictatorship Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), known in Spain as the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista), was the period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain with the title '' Caudillo''. Afte ...
in the early 1950s. He is the son of Olga Brey López and
Mariano Rajoy Sobredo
Mariano Rajoy Sobredo
, a jurist, and president of the Provincial Court of
Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the ''Pontevedra (comarca), Comarca'' (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, Galicia. It is also the ...

Pontevedra
, the city where he grew up. Later on, his father was transferred to
León Leon, Léon (French) or León (Spanish) may refer to: Places Europe * León, Spain, capital city of the Province of León * Province of León, Spain * Kingdom of León, an independent state in the Iberian Peninsula from 910 to 1230 and again from ...
and the whole family moved there. He was duly enrolled, together with his brothers Luis and Enrique, and spent ten years there before moving to the Jesuit school in
Vigo Vigo ( , , , ) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-lev ...

Vigo
. After finishing secondary school he started university, enrolling in the Law Faculty in Santiago de Compostela. Rajoy graduated from the
University of Santiago de Compostela , established = , type = public university, Public , budget = €228 million (2011) , rector = Prof. Dr. Antonio López Díaz , city = Santiago de Compostela , state = Galicia (Spain), Galicia , country = Spain , undergrad = 23,835 , postg ...
and passed the competitive examination required in Spain to enter into the civil service, becoming the youngest-ever property
registrar A registrar is an official keeper of records made in a register. The term may refer to: Education * Registrar (education), an official in an academic institution who handles student records * Registrar of the University of Oxford, one of the seni ...
. He was assigned to
Padrón
Padrón
(A Coruña),
Villafranca del Bierzo 250px, Castle of Villafranca. Villafranca del Bierzo ( gl, Vilafranca do Bierzo) is a village and municipality located in the comarca (Spain), comarca of El Bierzo, in the province of León, Castile and León, Spain. Villafranca del Bierzo lies 18 ...

Villafranca del Bierzo
(
León Leon, Léon (French) or León (Spanish) may refer to: Places Europe * León, Spain, capital city of the Province of León * Province of León, Spain * Kingdom of León, an independent state in the Iberian Peninsula from 910 to 1230 and again from ...
) and
Santa Pola Santa Pola (Valencian Valencian (; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or ...
(
Alicante Alicante (, also , ca-valencia, Alacant, italics=no ) is a city and municipalities of Spain, municipality in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is the capital of the province of Alacant and a historic Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean port. The ...
), a position he still holds. In that year, Rajoy sustained facial injuries in a traffic accident. Since then, he has always worn a beard to cover the scars from these injuries. Rajoy married Elvira "Viri" Fernández Balboa on 28 December 1996, in La Toja island (Pontevedra). The couple have two children. While on the campaign trail in 2011, Rajoy published his autobiography, ''En Confianza'' (''In Confidence'').


Political career


Early political career

Earlier member of the
Spanish National Union The Spanish National Union (Spanish language, Spanish: ''Unión Nacional Española'', UNE) was a Conservatism, conservative and Traditionalism (Spain), traditionalist political party in Spain. History The UNE was born in 1975 as a "political assoc ...
(UNE), Rajoy joined the right-wing party People's Alliance (AP), becoming a deputy in the inaugural legislature of the
Galician Parliament The Parliament of Galicia () is the unicameral legislature of the autonomous community of Galicia (Spain), Galicia, Spain. It is formed by 75 deputies (). Deputies are elected every four years in ordinary period, or extraordinarily upon dissoluti ...
in 1981. In 1982, he was appointed by Galician regional President, Xerardo Fernández Albor, as Minister of Institutional Relations of the
Xunta de Galicia The Xunta de Galicia (; "Regional Government of Galicia") is the collective decision-making body of the government of the autonomous community of Galicia, composed of the President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title ...
. On 11 June 1986, Rajoy was elected President of the Provincial Council of
Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the ''Pontevedra (comarca), Comarca'' (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, Galicia. It is also the ...

Pontevedra
, a position he held until July 1991. In the
General Elections A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-elections (o ...
of 22 June 1986, he won a seat in the Congress of Deputies as the head of the AP's list for
Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the ''Pontevedra (comarca), Comarca'' (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, Galicia. It is also the ...
, although he resigned in November to take up the post of vice-president of the Xunta of Galicia following the resignation of Xosé Luis Barreiro and the rest of the ministers. He occupied this latter position until the end of September 1987. In May 1988 he was elected General Secretary of the PA in Galicia during an extraordinary congress of the regional party. When in 1989 the AP merged with other parties to form the People's Party (PP), with
Manuel Fraga Manuel Fraga Iribarne (; 23 November 1922 – 15 January 2012) was a Spanish professor and politician in Francoist Spain, who was also the founder of the People's Party (Spain), People's Party. Fraga was Ministry of Information and Tourism, Minist ...
as its president, Rajoy was named a member of its National Executive Committee and delegate for Pontevedra. He was reelected to parliament in 1993. Before the PP's triumph in the 1996 elections, he was a PP-designated member of the Commission of Parliamentary Control of the
RTVE The Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española, S.A. (; ), known as Radiotelevisión Española or RTVE, is the state-owned public corporation that assumed in 2007 the indirect management of the Spain, Spanish public radio and television servi ...
. In April, the former president of Castile and León and presidential candidate of the government general elections in 1989,
José María Aznar José María Alfredo Aznar López (; born 25 February 1953) is a Spanish politician who was the Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004. He led the People's Party (PP), the dominant centre-right Centre-right politics (British English ...
, was elected president of the PP. Confirmed in the National Executive, Mariano Rajoy was appointed deputy secretary general of the party. He was re-elected in Pontevedra in the election on 6 June 1993.


Ministerial career (1996–2003)

On 3 March 1996, the PP won the early parliamentary elections and formed a government with the support of the
Basque Nationalist Party The Basque Nationalist Party (, EAJ; es, Partido Nacionalista Vasco, PNV; french: Parti Nationaliste Basque, PNB; EAJ-PNV), officially Basque National Party in English,) was rejected by party members in November 2011. Nonetheless, the party did ...
(EAJ-PNV),
Convergence and Union Convergence and Union ( ca, Convergència i Unió, CiU; ) was a Catalan nationalist electoral alliance in Catalonia, Spain. It was a federation of two constituent parties, the larger Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and its smaller count ...
(CiU) and the
Canarian Coalition The Canarian Coalition ( es, Coalición Canaria, CC) is a regionalist, Canarian nationalist, conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets ...
(CC). Rajoy, a long-time associate of newly elected Prime Minister José María Aznar, made the move into national politics in Aznar's first government when he was appointed Minister of Public Administration on 6 May. His term was marked by the adoption, in 1997, of the Law on organization and operation of the general administration of the State (LOFAGE), which regulates the organization and functions of central government, and the Law on Government. He changed his portfolio on 20 January 1999 and replaced
Esperanza Aguirre Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma (; born 3 January 1952) is a Spanish politician. A member of the People's Party (PP), she served as President of the Senate President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a senate ...

Esperanza Aguirre
as Minister of Education and Culture. Just after his appointment, he was reelected vice-secretary general of the PP during its thirteenth national conference. In 2000 he led the People's Party election campaign for the elections on 12 March, in which they won absolute majority. On 28 April 2000, Rajoy was appointed Senior Vice President of Government and Minister of the Presidency. Less than a year later, on 28 February 2001, he replaced
Jaime Mayor Oreja Jaime Mayor Oreja (born 12 July 1951) is a former Spanish conservative politician of the People's Party. He served as member of the Basque Parliament, of the Spanish Parliament, and of the European Parliament The European Parliament (E ...

Jaime Mayor Oreja
, candidate for President of the Government of the Basque Country, as Interior Minister. In this role, he passed legislation including the Organic Law on the right of association, approved the decree implementing the Organic Law on the rights and duties of foreigners, and presented the draft law on the prevention of alcoholism. In the major cabinet reshuffle of 9 July 2002, he became minister of the presidency, retained his vice presidency and was appointed spokesman of the government. In his new role, he faced two very difficult times of Aznar's second term: the Prestige oil tanker disaster off the coast of
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
, and the participation of Spain in the
Iraq War The Iraq WarThe conflict is also known as the Second Gulf War or the Third Gulf War by those who consider the Iran–Iraq War the first Gulf War. The war was also called the Second Iraq War referring to the Gulf War as the first Iraq war. The p ...
, at the request of
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
. Approached, with
Rodrigo Rato Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo (born 18 March 1949) is a conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to ...
and Jaime Mayor Oreja, to succeed José Maria Aznar at the direction of the PP and as presidential candidate of the government in the 2004 general elections, he was chosen as future PP leader on 1 September 2003 and left the government two days later.


Leader of the People's Party

On 30 August 2003, Aznar announced that he would retire from politics in the 2004 elections and proposed Rajoy as his successor. Rajoy was elected Secretary General of the party the following day, and led the party into the 2004 elections. However, the PP's large lead evaporated in the wake of the 11-M bombings, and the PP was heavily defeated by the PSOE. However, Rajoy was not held responsible for the defeat, and was elected party president at the PP's 14th congress in October 2004.


Leader of the Opposition (2004–2011)


2004 election

On 11 March 2004, three days before the 2004 general elections,
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
was struck by
terrorist attacks File:Terrorism deaths per year by country.jpg, 260px, Terrorism deaths per year by country The following is a list of terrorist incidents that have not been carried out by a State (polity), state or its forces (see state terrorism and state- ...
, which the government initially blamed on the armed Basque separatist organisation,
ETA Eta (uppercase , lowercase ; grc, ἦτα ''ē̂ta'' or ell, ήτα ''ita'' ) is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is ...
. Aznar's government and government party leaders insisted on accusing ETA of the attacks, and on 13 March, Rajoy claimed to believe this because he was convinced of their will and capability for committing such crimes. The government was accused of attempting to blame ETA for the attacks in order to stay on track to win the elections (as they were favored to do), but then the
Prisa Promotora de Informaciones, S.A. (PRISA) is a Spanish media conglomerate A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association o ...
center-left media company broke news that Al‑Qaida, rather than ETA, was responsible. On 14 March 2004 the PSOE, under the leadership of
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
, won the elections with a majority of 1,300,000 votes over the PP, and obtained 164 deputies, while the PP obtained 9,763,144 votes but 148 deputies, 35 less than they obtained in 2000. Rajoy was elected for the province of
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...
. On 1 December 2005, Rajoy survived a helicopter accident, along with Madrid Regional Government President
Esperanza Aguirre Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma (; born 3 January 1952) is a Spanish politician. A member of the People's Party (PP), she served as President of the Senate President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a senate ...

Esperanza Aguirre
; he broke a finger in the accident. His criticisms of the
Zapatero
Zapatero
administration were focused on what he perceived as: * The derogation of ambitious plans of the previous executive * The ''Plan Hidrológico Nacional'' (National Hydrological Plan) * The ''LOCE'' Organic Law on the Quality of Education * The alleged "unnecessary" statutory reforms which devolved competences to the autonomous communities, such as submitted in the
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...

Catalan
, and
Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_name ...
n referendums with low turn-outs. According to Rajoy, some of those reforms constituted concealed changes of the autonomous communities towards a confederation, endangering the integrity of the State * Zapatero's view of Spain, which, Rajoy proposed, would require a reform of the
Spanish Constitution The Spanish Constitution (Spanish language, Spanish, Asturleonese language, Asturleonese, and gl, Constitución Española; eu, Espainiako Konstituzioa; ca, Constitució Espanyola; oc, Constitucion espanhòla) is the Democracy, democratic la ...
. Such a reform that would need approval in a national referendum. * The alleged weakness facing the peace process opened as a result of the permanent ceasefire declared by ETA on 30 December 2006, broken by the Madrid Barajas International Airport bombing and arms robbery * The legalization of
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism ...
until 14 weeks of pregnancy, a law that Mariano Rajoy considered "criminal" and against the will of large sectors of the Spanish society In
foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its website, and in six print issues annually. ''Foreign Poli ...
: * The alleged cold relations with United States and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
. * The alliances with Latin American left-wing leaders:
Hugo Chávez Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (, ; 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013) was a Venezuelan politician who was president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013, except for a brief period in April 2002. Chávez was also leader of the Fifth ...

Hugo Chávez
, from
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continent A continent is any of several large l ...

Venezuela
,
Fidel Castro Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; ; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer, and politician who was the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and President of Cuba ...

Fidel Castro
, from
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
and
Evo Morales Juan Evo Morales Ayma (; born 26 October 1959) is a Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South ...

Evo Morales
, from
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of g ...

Bolivia
.


2008 election

Rajoy faced a serious situation within his party when he came under public pressure from the electorally successful Alberto Ruiz Gallardón (Madrid's Mayor) to be included in the PP lists for the March 2008 general election. Gallardón represents a more centrist sector within the party, whereas Rajoy,
Angel Acebes
Angel Acebes
and Eduardo Zaplana are widely accepted as representing a more conservative wing of the party, closer to Aznar. Rajoy's final decision was to leave Gallardón out of the list for those elections, an action which provoked concern about the alienation of potential PP voters. Some experts and newspapers even argued that it could cost Rajoy the elections. In any case, the power struggle for succession created a tense situation for him and for the party. On 30 January 2008, Rajoy received the support of Germany's
Angela Merkel Angela Dorothea Merkel ( Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician serving as the chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der ...

Angela Merkel
and France's
Nicolas Sarkozy Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa (; ; born 28 January 1955) is a French politician who served as the 23th President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la ...

Nicolas Sarkozy
for the March 2008 general election. The PP was defeated in the general election, however, it gained votes and seats, and Rajoy continued to lead his party in opposition.


2011 election

The
2011 general election This national electoral calendar for the year 2011 lists the national/federal direct elections held in 2011 in the ''de jure'' and ''de facto'' list of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-ele ...
campaign was dominated by economic issues. "Election campaign begins, crushed by the economic situation", was the headline in ''
El Pais EL, El or el may refer to: Religion * El (deity) (also ʼIl, uga, 𐎛𐎍; phn, 𐤀𐤋; he, אֵל; syr, ܐܠ; ar, إيل or ; cognate to akk, 𒀭, ilu) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic word meaning "god" o ...
'' on 2 September 2011; the same day, '' El Mundo'' claimed that "the unemployment election campaign ad begun. The high rate of unemployment was a major issue in the campaign. Close to 5 million people were out of work at the time of the election, and 1.5 million households had no wage earners. Rajoy slammed Spain's unemployment rate as "unbearable and unacceptable" as data showed 4,350 people per day losing their jobs in October 2011. The Socialists, he said, "did not know how to manage Spain's economy, and now the Spanish people are paying the price for that". He promised he would shepherd Spain out of its
crisis A crisis (plural: "crises"; adjectival form In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. Th ...
and recover the shaky confidence of international investors and reduce the government's ominously high borrowing costs. The debt crisis in Greece had raised concerns over the solvency of other weak economies like Spain. The PP campaign slogan called on voters to "Join the change!" and the party manifesto stressed its commitment to cutting the country's budget deficit in line with EU requirements. It proposed tax breaks for savers and small firms who hired staff; benefits for those who took on young employees; more flexible labour contracts and wage negotiations and major cuts in
red tape Red tape is an idiom referring to regulations or conformity to formal wikt:rule, rules or wikt:standard, standards which are claimed to be excessive, rigid or redundant, or to bureaucracy claimed to hinder or prevent action or decision-making. I ...

red tape
, to encourage entrepreneurs to set up businesses. At the same time, it pledged to protect public healthcare and education, saving money through efficiency and better management.


Premiership (2011–2018)


First term (2011–2015)

In November 2011, Rajoy's right-wing People's Party won its biggest majority since the country's return to representative democracy in the 1970s, securing 186 out of the 350 seats in the lower house of Parliament. Voters turned to him in hopes of alleviating the pain of Europe's debt crisis. Following the
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
held in 2011, Rajoy was elected Prime Minister by the
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chamb ...
on 20 December 2011.


Inauguration

Rajoy, designated candidate for Prime Minister of the government of King Juan Carlos I, appeared before the Congress of Deputies on 19 December 2011. He stated that to achieve the objective of a deficit of 4.4% of GDP in 2012, an investment of €16,500,000,000 would be needed. He added that his only increased public spending would be the revaluation of pensions, beginning 1 January 2012, and that he would not create any new jobs in the public sector, except for security forces. He stated an intention "to reduce the size of the public sector" and also wanted to reform
public holidays A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holid ...
so as to avoid encouragement of popular four-day weekends. This would be accomplished by incorporating the use of the nearest Monday for most public holidays. He also announced his desire to end the practice of early retirement. Rajoy was chosen by Parliament two days later with 187 votes in favor, 149 votes against and 14 abstentions, receiving the support of the People's Party, the Forum of Asturias (FAC) and the Navarrese People's Union (UPN), with Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Convergence and Union (CiU), the United Left (IU) and Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) dissenting. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the coalition Amaiur and the Canary Coalition (CC) abstained. He was appointed a few hours later as Prime Minister by Juan Carlos I and sworn in the next day at the Zarzuela Palace, before the King and Queen, Zapatero, the outgoing Prime Minister, and the Presidents of the Cortes Generales, and others.


First days

Rajoy's government was formed on 21 December 2011 with thirteen ministers—the lowest number in Spanish democratic history.
Soraya Saenz de Santamaria
Soraya Saenz de Santamaria
, Vice President of the Government, Minister of the Presidency, and government spokesperson, and
Ana Pastor Julián Ana María Pastor Julián (born 11 November 1957) is a Spain, Spanish doctor and politician for the People's Party (Spain), People's Party who served as President of the Congress of Deputies from 19 July 2016 to 20 May 2019. Previously she was Mi ...
, Minister of Equipment, were appointed. The Ministries of Culture, Science, and Territorial Policy were ended, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance was split into two new ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Environment was kept intact, despite statements made by Rajoy speech before Congress that indicated the opposite intention. Among the ministers,
Cristóbal Montoro Romero
Cristóbal Montoro Romero
, Minister of Finance, and
Miguel Arias Cañete Miguel Arias Cañete (born 24 February 1950) is a Spanish politician who served as European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action in the Juncker Commission from 2014 and 2019. A member of the People's Party (Spain), People's Party, Arias serv ...

Miguel Arias Cañete
, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, had been members of the previous Aznar government and continued to occupy the same posts.


Spending cuts

On 30 December 2011, the
Council of MinistersThe Council of Ministers is a traditional name given to the supreme executive organ in some governments. The term is usually equivalent to the word " cabinet" ( Council of State is a similar term that also may refer to a Cabinet. However, the terms ...
approved a cuts plan (called an austerity plan) amounting to €8,900,000,000 in savings and €6,200,000,000 in new revenues. Salaries of public workers were frozen, the workweek in public administration was reduced to 37.5 hours, and recruitment of new public employees was halted, except in the areas of security, health and education. A programme which provided rent assistance for young people was abolished, and the
minimum wage A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration Remuneration is the pay or other financial compensationFinancial compensation refers to the act of providing a person with money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, ...
was frozen—something that had not happened since 1966. The
income tax An income tax is a tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelate ...
and tax on
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more genera ...
was also increased for 2012 and 2013. Pensions were adjusted up 1%, however, and the tax deduction for the purchase of homes was reinstated. The premium of €400 for the long-term unemployed (due to a lack of industry) at the end of law was maintained but only for those registered as jobseekers with the public employment service for at least twelve months out of the previous eighteen and whose income amounts were less than three quarters of the net minimum wage. A 4%
value-added tax A value-added tax (VAT), known in some countries as a goods and services tax (GST), is a type of tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law, a legal ...
was expanded to include new home purchases.


Lawsuit

On 4 January 2013 the association Democracia Real Ya (DRY), created after the 15 May 2011 protest movement, brought charges against Mariano Rajoy and another 62 deputies (including four ministers) before the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
, accusing them of diversion of public funds and misappropriation. Mariano Rajoy was accused of receiving a subsistence allowance despite the fact that he was living in the Moncloa Palace in
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
. The lawsuit before the Supreme Court was a consequence of the data which had appeared in the media providing information about several deputies who had houses in
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
but at the same time were receiving extra funds for lodging. According to the association DRY, these representatives, who could be lodged at no cost to the public purse, were paid a monthly subsistence allowance valued at €1,823.36. Furthermore, if they had been elected by the constituency of Madrid and had a house in this city, they were allowed €870 a month to cover accommodation and food expenses resulting from the exercise of their functions that, with respect to Rajoy, were already covered – from the state budget – in the Moncloa Palace. DRY therefore accused them of diversion of public funds and misappropriation. Additionally, DRY demanded that they return all the money that didn't belong to them, particularly bearing in mind that "the cuts are making most Spaniards' life a misery". On 24 April 2013, having found no irregularity in the existing regulation and discarding the existence of constituents elements of offense, the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
rejected the lawsuit.


Corruption scandals

The newspaper ''
El País ''El País'' (; ) is a Spanish-language Newspaper, daily newspaper in Spain. ''El País'' is based in the capital city of Madrid and it is owned by the Spanish media conglomerate PRISA. According to the Office of Justification of Dissemination ...
'' published in its edition of 30 January 2013 a series of documents, under the title of " Bárcenas' secret papers", referring to the accounts of the conservative party from 1999 to 2009. According to those hand-written documents, Mariano Rajoy and María Dolores de Cospedal had received extra payments in "black" money from the former treasurer of the People's Party, Luis Bárcenas. These documents state that both Bárcenas and his predecessor, Álvaro Lapuerta, managed cash donations from businessmen and private builders (three of whom are additionally accused in the Gürtel case), cited as sources of undeclared income of the PP. Expenditure included, apart from allocations for the effective functioning of the party, payments made to members of the leadership of the party during those years with no explicitly stated purpose. Barcenas' accounts show yearly payments of 25,200 euros for 11 years to the President, in addition to smaller amounts for a total estimated at 33,207 with purposes such as "Mariano's suits", "Mariano's ties", or "M.R.'s suits". PP Secretary-General María Dolores de Cospedal appears in the papers of these payments, as well as other leaders, such as former ministers Javier Arenas (politician), Javier Arenas,
Jaime Mayor Oreja Jaime Mayor Oreja (born 12 July 1951) is a former Spanish conservative politician of the People's Party. He served as member of the Basque Parliament, of the Spanish Parliament, and of the European Parliament The European Parliament (E ...

Jaime Mayor Oreja
and Francisco Álvarez-Cascos. By 7 February, just one week after publication of the documents, one million people had signed a petition launched by the organization Change.org asking for the immediate resignation of Mariano Rajoy. On 8 July, the center-right newspaper '' El Mundo'', usually a support of the Popular Party, published a four-hour interview with Luis Bárcenas, which had taken place a few days before he was put behind bars on 27 June, in which the former party treasurer revealed that the People's Party had been illegally financed for 20 years. The following day, the same newspaper published the originals of Barcenas' papers which reflected overpayments to Mariano Rajoy in 1997, 1998 and 1999, when he was a minister in the Aznar cabinet. These payments violated the Incompatibilities Act of 1995. On 14 July, ''El Mundo'' published several text messages between Rajoy and Bárcenas, the latest dating from early 2013, after the discovery of Bárcenas' bank accounts in Switzerland and after some media had pointed to illegal payments within the PP. In those messages, Rajoy expressed his support to Bárcenas and asked him to keep quiet. In light of these new revelations, High Court judge Pablo Ruz summoned Bárcenas to appear before him on 15 July. In this new appearance, Bárcenas admitted the payment of 50,000 euros in 2010 to Rajoy and Dolores de Cospedal. As a result of the scandal, all the opposition parties urged Rajoy to give an explanation to parliament, with the opposition
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a social-democraticThe PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources: * * * * political party A political party is an organi ...
threatening him with a Motion of no confidence, censure motion should he refuse to come out and explain himself, and demanding his immediate resignation. In his appearance before Congress, on 1 August, Rajoy admitted that he had made "a mistake" in trusting Bárcenas and criticised the opposition for trying to "criminalize" him by believing the word of an "offender", stating that he wasn't resigning nor calling new elections. Rajoy also stated that Bárcenas was no longer a member of the PP when he, Rajoy, was appointed prime minister (in December 2011). However, on 11 August, ''El Mundo'' published a paysheet, dated May 2012, issued by the PP for the ex-treasurer, as well as a letter sent by Bárcenas himself to Rajoy in April 2010 (just a few days after he [Bárcenas] had been officially "removed" from his duties as treasurer) informing Rajoy of his "re-incorporation" in the party. On 26 November 2014, Ana Mato, Ministry of Health (Spain), Minister of Health, resigned due to the involvement of herself and her husband Jesús Sepúlveda in the Gürtel case. He testified in Audiencia Nacional (Spain), Audiencia Nacional as a witness in the framework of the investigation into the Gürtel case, Gürtel corruption scandal, of the illegal financing of his party. He is the first PM in Spain in service to attend a trial. Although he benefited from this corruption scheme, he denied any knowledge. This situation prompted a 2017 vote of no confidence in the government of Mariano Rajoy, no-confidence motion against Rajoy's government, which was debated on 13 June and defeated as expected on 14 June. Pío García-Escudero, the President of the Spanish Senate, President of the Senate also testified as a witness in the same investigation. On 26 April 2018, his former Ministry of Justice (Spain), Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, was imputed by the judge for his involvement in the corruption scandal Case Lezo, which involves leaders of the People's Party (Spain), PP in the Community of Madrid.


2015 general election and deadlock

The
2015 general election This national electoral calendar for 2015 lists the national/Federation, federal direct elections that were held in 2015 in all List of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-elections are e ...
was held on 20 December, the latest possible day. The result was that the People's Party remained the most voted-for party, but it lost 64 of its 187 seats and thus its majority. The election produced a fragmented parliament and an uncertain political situation that led to another election in 2016, as neither Rajoy nor the left-wing opposition could form a coalition government. During the electoral campaign, on 16 December, he was punched in the face by a teenager, breaking his glasses. All the political parties, unanimously, condemned the attack.


Second term (2016–2018)


2016 general election

In the general election of 26 June 2016, the PP increased its number of seats in parliament, while still falling short of an overall majority. Eventually on 29 October Rajoy was re-appointed as prime minister, after the majority of the PSOE members abstained in the parliamentary vote rather than oppose him. In February 2016, Rajoy was declared 'persona non grata' of
Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the ''Pontevedra (comarca), Comarca'' (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, Galicia. It is also the ...

Pontevedra
, his adopted city, because of his cabinet's decision to extend the operating license of a controversial cellulose factory by 60 years (see List of people declared persona non grata).


2017 witness and no confidence-motion

On 26 July, Rajoy was due to appear as a witness in the Gürtel case, Gürtel corruption case. This situation prompted a 2017 vote of no confidence in the government of Mariano Rajoy, no-confidence motion against Rajoy's government, which was debated on 13 June and defeated as expected on 14 June.


Terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils

On the afternoon of 17 August 2017, Younes Abouyaaqoub murdered 15 people and wounded 130 in an attack on Las Ramblas in Barcelona through vehicle-ramming attack and stabbed one person while fleeing. Few hours later, five men from the same terrorist cell drove into pedestrians in Cambrils, a coastal town one hour from Barcelona. One woman was fatally stabbed and six persons injured. All five attackers were killed by the police.


Catalan independence referendum

On 1 October 2017, an illegal referendum took place in Catalonia that descended into chaos after the intervention of the police to halt voting, where there were clashes between people and the police themselves. Rajoy oversaw the 2017-18 Spanish constitutional crisis marked by this referendum, and the Catalan republic (2017), Catalan Catalan declaration of independence, unilateral declaration of independence that led to the imposition of direct rule in Catalonia on 27 October 2017.


2018 motion of no confidence

The first definitive court ruling on the Gürtel case, Gürtel corruption scandal convicted a series of former PP party officials. Former treasurer Luis Bárcenas was sentenced to 33 years of prison and a fine of 44 million euros for hiding a fortune of an uncertain amount in Swiss banks. The 1,687-page ruling also said that it was settled that there was a "network of institutionalised corruption" and that the PP "financially benefited" from the Gürtel affair, something for which it was fined 245,492 euros. The sentence also recognised that it was proven that the PP had a slush fund since 1989, consisting of a "financial and accounting structure that was parallel to the official one". More court rulings are pending, as this ruling only covered the 1999-2005 period of the Gürtel scandal. Following the court ruling, the leader of Spanish Socialist Workers Party, PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, promoted a motion of no confidence against Rajoy to be voted on Friday, 1 June. 176 votes were needed to get it approved. In the debate of the previous day, a sufficient number of deputies expressed their intention to support it. Rajoy lost this motion, (with 180 votes in favour of the motion, 169 against, and 1 abstention) and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Sánchez. On 5 June 2018, Rajoy announced his resignation as President of the People's Party. On 15 June, he resigned his seat as Congress of Deputies, Deputy after thirty years. The vacant seat was taken by Valentina Martínez Ferro.


Later activity

On 20 June 2018, Rajoy was reinstated to his position as property registrar in
Santa Pola Santa Pola (Valencian Valencian (; endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or ...
after 29 years. On 27 February 2019 he declared as a witness at the trial of Catalonia independence leaders before the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
.


Political positions


Social issues


Immigration

Rajoy declared himself a strong supporter of allowing migrants to enter Spain, saying Spain would support those seeking Asylum seeker, asylum. In 2015, he criticised the Third Orban Government, Hungarian government for taking steps to deter migration into their country. Despite making these statements, the Second Rajoy Government, Government of Rajoy was highly criticized for taking anti-immigration measures such as cutting budget to immigration observatories, and the reinforcement of the fence of Melilla, with highly criticised "hot returns" - the illegal expulsion of migrants by the police without any legally established procedures or meeting the international obligations - with police violence eventually taking place. These acts were condemned by the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations, UN. The following months, the Rajoy executive refused to repeal the hot returns and appealed the sentence of Strasbourg.


Bullfighting

Rajoy is a strong supporter of bullfighting. He has said that "the tradition is an art form deeply rooted in Spanish history". He lifted the ban on live bullfights on state-run television and they are once again shown in the traditional 6 pm slot on Televisión Española, TVE.


History

During the 2015 election campaign, Rajoy asserted that the PP “was the only party defending the unity of Spain.” Among his electoral promises was the creation of a National Museum of Spanish History intended to “defend the unity of Spain.” The location chosen for making this announcement left little doubt about the nationalist undertones of that proposal: the site of the Battle of Covadonga, in the northwestern region of Asturias. That battle is recognized as the first triumph by Christian military forces after the Muslim conquest of the Iberia Peninsula in 711–718. As befits this accomplishment, historians usually consider Covadonga as the site of the beginning of the Reconquista, or the “reconquest” of the Iberian Peninsula by Christian rulers.


Foreign policy


Gibraltar

Rajoy wants British-controlled Gibraltar returned to Spain. He described Gibraltar as an “anachronism”, and “the last colony in Europe”.


Scottish independence

Scotland held a 2014 Scottish independence referendum, referendum on independence from the United Kingdom on Thursday 18 September 2014. In November 2013, Rajoy stated that an independent Scotland would have to reapply for membership of the European Union, causing considerable irritation to the devolved Scottish Government and criticism that Rajoy was interfering in the internal affairs of another state. Relations between the Spanish and devolved Scottish governments deteriorated further when the Scottish Government alleged that Rajoy invited a senior UK official to visit Madrid allegedly to co-ordinate British and Spanish opposition to the independence movements in Scotland and Catalonia.


Anti-egalitarianism

During his early political life, Rajoy defended anti-egalitarian stances. In 1983, as the youngest member of the Parliament of Galicia, Rajoy wrote in a piece in the ''Faro de Vigo'' titled "Human equality and models of society" the notion that "all policies seeking to achieve equality were a fallacy". As he wrote a year later in another piece for the ''Faro de Vigo'' titled "La envidia igualitaria" ("The egalitarian envy", 24 July 1984), when he was already president of the Provincial Deputation of Pontevedra: "Biological equality is not possible. But social equality isn't either. [...] As it is demonstrated in an undeniable way that nature, as hierarchic, engenders all human unequal, let's avoid exploiting envy and resent laying down the egalitarian dictatorship on such negative impulses".


Awards

* Gold Medal of the Spanish Council of the Professional Cycle sport, Cycling (25 April 2001). * Honorary Doctorate in Law by the Sergio Arboleda University in Bogotá, Colombia (21 April 2012).


Honours


National honours

* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III (12 September 2003). * Knight of the Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (3 August 2018).


Foreign honours

* Sash of Special Category of the Order of the Aztec Eagle by the Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (18 April 2012). * Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun of Peru (2013). * Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Chile), Order of Merit of Chile. * Order of the Republic of Serbia (2013). * Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (Portugal), Order of Christ (15 April 2018).


Negative distinctions

* Heart of Stone Award (2015). * Persona non grata in
Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the ''Pontevedra (comarca), Comarca'' (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, Galicia. It is also the ...

Pontevedra
(2016).


Genealogy


References

* * * * * * * *(es) « Mariano Rajoy confirma que creará un Ministerio de Agricultura », dans El Día, 19 décembre 2011 [texte intégral [archive] (page consultée le 22 décembre 2011)] * *(es) Carlos Cué, « Un Gobierno de amigos y fieles », dans ''El País Política'', 22 décembre 2011 [texte intégral [archive] (page consultée le 22 décembre 2011)] * *↑ (es) María Jesús Güemes, « Rajoy incumple su palabra y sube los impuestos », dans Público, 30 décembre 2011 [texte intégral [archive] (page consultée le 31 décembre 2011)] * * *


External links


Profile page

Extensive biography by CIDOB


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