Spain is a Constitutional Monarchy with a bicameral parliament. The Kingdom of Spain is considered one of the world’s 20 "full democracies". As per the classification system of the British group Economist Intelligence Unit, a "full democracy" is a nation where people's basic political and civil liberties and freedoms are respected and also reinforced by a political environment that allows and promotes democratic principles to thrive. The executive arm of the government is comprised by the Council of Ministers of Spain, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister of Spain is nominated by the monarch, but he or she has to be approved by the Congress of Deputies. The premier is the head of the government of Spain. He or she recommends government appointment, defend the nation, conduct domestic and foreign policy, and military administration. The prime minister can also exercise executive authority. Some of the notable Prime Ministers of Spain are looked at below.
Notable Prime Ministers of Spain
Adolfo Suárez, born in 1932, was an attorney and a politician. He was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain following the restoration of the monarchy. Adolfo Suárez played a key role in the transition of the country from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco to democracy. He held different government positions during the Francoist Regime including Minister Secretary General of the National Movement. On July 3, 1976, Adolfo was appointed first Prime Minister of Spain by King Juan Carlo. During the 1977 first free election in 41 years he led his party, the Union of the Democratic Center, to victory, becoming the first democratically elected Spanish Prime Minister. His government instituted democratic reforms which have benefited the country to date. He resigned on January 29, 1981, and died on March 23, 2005.
Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, born in 1926, was elected as the Prime Minister of Spain on February 25, 1981 to replace Adolfo Suarez, who had resigned in January of the same year. Before becoming the Prime Minister, he served as the Minister of Commerce in the Monarchy’s first government advocating for destruction of Franco’s policies. He was also elected as a member of parliament for Madrid and served as Minister for Relations with the European Community, and was Second Deputy Prime Minister in Suarez’s government. Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo served as Spanish Premier until December I, 1982 and was raised into Spanish Nobility in 2002. He died on May 3, 2008.
Felipe González, born in 1942, remains the longest-serving of Spain’s Prime Ministers. The Spanish Social-Democrat was elected Prime Minister in 1982, and served for four successive terms. He extended the universal free education provision from age 14 to 16. He also extended the social security and partially legalized abortion. However, his policies on the restructuring of steel industries led to loss of jobs in the country. His tenure was marked by bitter-sweet experiences including significant modernization, low budget deficits, strong economic growth as well as corruption scandals. He secured the country’s entry into the European Economic Community in 1986, and secured the country from terrorism through policies promoting intense police surveillance. He resigned from May 4, 1996. Felipe González has since served in various positions in the country including leader of Global Progress Commission, chairman of think tank on the future of Europe, and a member of Club of Madrid.
Incumbent Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
The incumbent Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, was elected as the Prime Minister in December of 2011 after his party, the People’s Party, won the largest share of the votes in the election. He formed a cabinet of only 13 ministers, the lowest in the history of Spain. He also embarked on cost cutting and lowering of government expenditures. However, his government has been scarred by cases of corruption and lawsuits.