alt.obituaries Memorial Deadpool
est. 2005
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Adolfo Suarez


Adolfo Suárez was no one's idea of a revolutionary, but as Spain's first prime minister after the death of Francisco Franco, he oversaw the country's most dramatic political change in forty years: its transition from dictatorship to democracy. A mild-mannered lawyer from Ávila in central Spain, Suárez worked his way up through a series of functionary roles in the late-Francoist infrastructure, including party secretary's apprentice, mayor, regional governor, and head of the country's radio and TV departments. Along the way, he made powerful allies, including then-Prince Juan Carlos. Juan Carlos had persuaded Franco to name him Franco's official successor by assuring the aging generalissimo that he'd continue the policies of the dictatorship, while secretly conspiring with more liberal factions to democratize. Upon Franco's death, the newly crowned King Juan Carlos was in a position to put his own man in charge, to implement his preferred agenda, and Suárez was his pick.

Although Suárez had come up through the Francoist bureaucracy, his relative youth created a sense of distance from the worst excesses of the regime (he'd been a small child when Franco first came to power), and at first he was seen as acceptable to both conservative and liberal political factions. In 1977, his center-right coalition party, Union of the Democratic Centre, triumphed in Spain's first free elections in 41 years, and Suárez's first democratically elected term began promisingly, with the successful passage of a new constitution and the legalization of trade unions and left-wing political parties. But his efforts to open up the country's previously one-party system eventually undermined his own political viability; his coalition crumbled as the other coalition members formed their own parties and staked out their own terrain.

Suárez managed to win reelection in 1979, but his second elected term was widely viewed as a disaster. The economic reforms that he implemented to combat inflation sent the Spanish economy into the toilet, and he found himself opposed on all sides: by the socialists and communists, who wanted the country to go in a more Marxist direction now that they had a say in running it; by the military, still dominated by Francoist elements; and by regional separatist terrorists of all ideologies, who thought his moves toward greater regional autonomy didn't go far enough. He resigned as prime minister in early 1981, in an attempt to ward off a military coup (the coup happened anyway but was put down by the king), and lingered in Spanish politics for the next decade, with diminishing returns.

Suárez died in Madrid on March 23. He was 81. Mo gets 10 points for the hit (5 points for hit + 5 points for solo).


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