(b. 25 Sept. 1932).
Prime Minister of Spain 1976–81 Born in Cebreros (Avila), he received a doctorate degree in law from the University of Madrid, and rose quickly in the bureaucracy of the Franco regime to become director‐general of radio and television (1965–8, 1969–73). As director of the Falange National Movement from 1975, he prevented its opposition to the post‐Franco reforms. Juan Carlos appointed him Prime Minister in 1976 to oversee the establishment of a democratic government. In close cooperation with the King, Suárez effected this with the Law of Political Reform of 18 November 1976. With his party, the Democratic Union Centre (DUC), he won the ensuing elections of 1977. However, his popularity declined owing to the economic crisis consequent upon the 1979 world recession. The stability of the political system was seriously challenged by continued terrorist attacks by the Basque ETA. He resigned in 1981, weeks before the attempted coup of that year. Having lost the support of his own party, he founded the Democratic Centre and Social Party, which gained but two seats in 1982. Nevertheless these elections were won by González, and successfully completed the first stage of Spain's democratic transition, to which he had been a crucial contributor. He retired from politics in 1991.
Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).