Adolfo Suárez

Adolfo Suárez bigraphy, stories - Prime Minister of Spain

Adolfo Suárez : biography

25 August 1932 –

Adolfo Suárez González, 1st Duke of Suárez, Grandee of Spain, KOGF ( born 25 September 1932 in Cebreros, Castile and Leon, Spain) 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.

Titles, styles, and honours

Titles and styles

  • Mr Adolfo Suárez (1932–1976)
  • The Most Excellent Adolfo Suárez, Prime Minister of Spain (1976–1981)
  • The Most Excellent The Duke of Suárez, Grandee of Spain (1981–2007)
  • The Most Excellent The Duke of Suárez, Grandee of Spain, KOGF (2007–present)


  • Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece of Spain (1,193rd member, 8 June 2007)


On 31 May 2005, Suárez’s son, Adolfo Suárez Illana, announced on Spanish television that his father was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, 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.


Suárez’s wife, María del Amparo Illana Elórtegui, and elder daughter, María del Amparo ("Marian") Suárez Illana, suffered and died from cancer (on 17 May 2001 and 7 March 2004, respectively).

His middle daughter Laura was born in 1962; in 1998, she married, and later birthed two children, Alejandra Romero Suárez (b. 1990) and Fernando Romero Suárez (b. 1993).

The youngest daughter, María Sonsoles Suárez 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.

Early life

Adolfo Suárez 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.,, at He was born in Cebreros. He later studied law at Salamanca University.


Political career

Suárez 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.Payne, S.G. The Franco Regime, 1936–1975. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1987. p 616. 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 to democracy (La Transición).

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 29 January 1981.Preston, Paul, "Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy", page 457. Harper Perennial, 2005. ISBN 0-00-638693-8 A month later, as the Spanish parliament was taking a vote to confirm Suarez’s replacement as Prime Minister Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, parliament was disrupted by the entrance of Lieutenant Colonel Tejero and his attempted coup.Cercas, Javier, "The Anatomy of a Moment". Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4088-0560-2. The 23-F coup attempt ("El Tejerazo") shook the government, but was defeated. 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 in 1988. He retired from active politics in 1991, for personal reasons.

In 1981, he was raised into the Spanish nobility by King Juan Carlos of Spain and given the hereditary title of "Duque de Suárez" (Duke of Suárez), together with the title Grande de España (English: Grandee of Spain) following his resignation as Spanish Prime Minister and in recognition of his role in the Spanish transition to democracy. Suárez was awarded the Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia in September 1996 for his role in Spain’s early democracy. On 8 June 2007, during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first democratic elections, King Juan Carlos appointed Suárez the 1,193rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.BOE , Spanish official journal. Retrieved 9 June 2007. He is also a member of the Club de Madrid, an independent organization (based in Madrid) that is composed of more than 80 former democratic Prime Ministers and Presidents. The group works to strengthen democratic governance and leadership.