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Mariano Rajoy Brey (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈɾjano raˈxoi βɾei]; born 27 March 1955) is the current Prime Minister of Spain, appointed since 21 December 2011 and is chairman of the People's Party since 2004.
Under Prime Minister José María Aznar, Rajoy was Minister of Public Administration from 1996 to 1999 and Minister of Education from 1999 to 2000; he then served as Deputy Prime Minister from 2000 to 2003. Rajoy led the People's Party into the March 2004 general election, but that election was won by the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in the aftermath of the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Subsequently Rajoy was Leader of the Opposition from 2004 to 2011.
Early life and education
Born 27 March 1955 in Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña), Galicia. Rajoy is the grandson of Enrique Rajoy Leloup, one of the drafters of the Statute of Autonomy of Galicia in 1932, who was removed from university teaching by the dictatorship to the early 1950s. He is the son of Mariano Rajoy Sobredo, a jurist, and president of the Provincial Court of Pontevedra, the city where he grew up.
Later on, his father, was transferred to León and the whole family moved there. Rajoy attended a school that was later attended by José Luis Zapatero as well. He was duly enrolled, together with his brothers Luis and Enrique, in a Jesuit school of that city, and spent ten years there before moving to the Jesuit school in 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 and passed the competitive examination required in Spain to enter into the civil service, becoming the youngest-ever property registrar at age 23.
He was assigned to Padrón (A Coruña), Villafranca del Bierzo (León) and Santa Pola (Alicante) a position he still holds. At the same age, Rajoy was injured in the face following a traffic accident. Since then, he has always worn a beard to hide the scars of these injuries.
Mariano married on 28 December 1996 in La Toja island (Pontevedra) to Elvira "Viri" Fernández Balboa. The couple have two children.
While on the campaign trail in 2011, Rajoy published an autobiography, En confianza (In Confidence), in which he recalled his studious and quiet youth, following a father who was climbing the ranks of Francisco Franco's judiciary. He talks of a happy childhood as the son of a judge, and how he used Vim and Ajax to clean the barracks during his military service in Valencia.
He stated that he married his wife Viri "for the rest of his life" and described how he was affected by the death of his mother when she was 61, as well as the large influence his father had on his life. Rajoy told his readers that he entered politics not against his own will, but against that of his father. He admitted he has thought about abandoning politics during the hard times, but that he stayed "because of personal responsibility and to keep the party united". He says he will donate the book sales to charity and the needy.
Early political career
Rajoy started his political career in 1981, as a member of the right-wing party People's Alliance (AP), becoming a deputy in the inaugural legislature of the Galician Parliament. In 1982, he was appointed by Galician regional President, Xerardo Fernández Albor, as Minister of Institutional Relations of the Xunta de Galicia. On 11 June 1986, Rajoy was elected President of the Provincial Council of Pontevedra, a position he held until July 1991.
In the General Elections of 22 June 1986, he obtained a seat in the Congress of Deputies as the head of the AP's list for Pontevedra, 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 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".
In April, former president of Castile and León and presidential candidate of the government general elections in 1989, José María Aznar, 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.
3 March 1996, the PP won the early parliamentary and Mariano Rajoy, who had been elected MP, was appointed Minister of Public Administrations on 6 May in the first Aznar government. 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 the Government.
It changes its portfolio 20 January 1999 and replaces Esperanza Aguirre, strongly criticized the Ministry of Education and Culture. Just after his appointment, he was reelected vice-secretary general of the PP during its thirteenth national conference. The prisoners of José María Aznar 
In 2000 he led the Conservative election campaign for the elections on 12 March, the latter won with an absolute majority of seats against socialists. Mariano Rajoy was appointed, 28 April, Senior Vice President of Government and Minister of the Presidency.
Less than a year later, on 28 February 2001, it replaces Jaime Mayor Oreja, candidate for President of the Government of the Basque Country, as Interior Minister. In this role, he impulse including the Organic Law on the right of association, approved the decree implementing the Organic Law on the rights and duties of foreigners, and present the draft law on the prevention of alcoholism.
When major cabinet reshuffle of 9 July 2002, he converted a man because strong government becomes minister of the presidency, retains 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, and the participation of Spain in the Iraq War desired by George W. Bush.
Approached, with Rodrigo Rato and Jaime Mayor Oreja, to succeed Jose Maria Aznar at the direction of the PP and as presidential candidate of the government to the 2004 legislative, he was chosen by him on 1 September 2003 and leaves the government two days later.
Minister of the Interior: 1996–2004
A long-time associate of José María Aznar, Rajoy made the move into national politics when Aznar became Prime Minister in 1996 with the support of Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Convergence and Union (CiU) and the Canarian Coalition, serving as Minister of Public administration and Minister of Education and Culture in the first Aznar administration.
He managed the successful People's Party campaign in the 2000 elections. A grateful Aznar appointed him Deputy Prime Minister of the Spanish Government. In February 2001 he was named Minister of the Interior, after Jaime Mayor Oreja decided to run as head of the People's Party list in the 2001 Basque Elections.
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. After the 14th Congress of the People's Party in October 2004 he became the new Chairman of the party, by then in the opposition, having lost the elections to the PSOE.
Leader of the opposition: 2004–2011
On 11 March 2004, three days before the 2004 general elections were to take place, Madrid was struck by terrorist attacks, which were initially blamed on the armed Basque separatist organisation, ETA, and later on Al‑Qaeda. Aznar's government and Party leaders insisted on accusing the 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 the ETA for the attacks in order to stay on track to win the elections (as they were heavily favored to do), but then news broke that it was Al‑Qaida, rather than the ETA.
On 14 March 2004 the PSOE, under the leadership of 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.
On 1 December 2005, Rajoy survived a helicopter accident, along with Madrid Regional Government President Esperanza Aguirre; he broke a finger in the accident.
Rajoy faced a serious situation within his party after receiving 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 and Eduardo Zaplana are widely accepted[vague] 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 and France's Nicolas Sarkozy for the March 2008 general election. The PP was defeated in the general election, however, and Rajoy continued to lead his party in opposition.
His criticisms of the 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, such as submitted in the Catalan, and Andalusian referendums with very high levels of abstention. According to Rajoy, some of those reforms constitute concealed changes of the autonomous communities towards a confederation, endangering the integrity of the State
- He has said that if Zapatero wants to apply his view of Spain, it would be better if he proposed a reform of the Spanish Constitution, 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 the organisation ETA on 30 December 2006, broken by the Madrid Barajas International Airport bombing and arms robbery
- The legalization of abortion until 14 weeks of pregnancy, a law that Mariano Rajoy sees as "criminal" and against the will of large sectors of the Spanish society
In Foreign policy:
- The alleged cold relations with United States and Poland
- The alliances with Hugo Chávez, from Venezuela, Fidel Castro, from Cuba and Evo Morales, from Bolivia
This election will show exactly how Spaniards feel about the state of their economy. "Election campaign begins, crushed by the economic situation", was the headline in El Pais on 2 September 2012; the same day, El Mundo claimed that "the unemployment election campaign [had begun]". Job creation is the key issue here – almost the only topic of discussion in the campaign. Close to 5 million people are out of work, and 1.5 million households now have no wage earners.
The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is trying to blame this desperate state of affairs on the economic crisis. It suggests that it will be a punishment vote, which will likely hand the Popular Party an all-out majority in parliament. The party's candidate for prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has already lost two general elections. Positioning himself carefully as a moderate, he is pitching this election as a vote for change whilst steering clear of radical proposals.
Rajoy slammed Spain's unemployment rate as "unbearable and unacceptable" as the latest data showed 4,350 people per day losing their job in October. 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 promises he will shepherd Spain out of its crisis and recover the shaky confidence of international investors and to reduce the government's ominously high borrowing costs. The debt crisis in Greece has raised concerns over the solvency of other weak economies, like Spain, So the PP campaign slogan calls on voters to "Join the change!" The party manifesto stresses its commitment to cutting the country's swollen budget deficit in line with EU requirements. It proposes tax breaks for savers and small firms who hire staff; benefits for those who take on young employees; more flexible labour contracts and wage negotiations and big cuts in red tape, to encourage entrepreneurs to set up in business. At the same time, it pledges to protect public healthcare and education, saving money through efficiency and better management.
In November 2011, Rajoy’s center-right Popular Party won its biggest majority since the country’s return to 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 held in 2011, Rajoy was elected Prime Minister by the Congress of Deputies on 21 December 2011.
Mariano Rajoy, designated presidential candidate 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 16.5 billion euros 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 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 PP, the Forum of Asturias (FCC) and Navarrese People's Union (UPN), with the 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, to general surprise, and the Canary Coalition (CC) not. He was appointed a few hours later, president of the government by Juan Carlos I and sworn in the next day at the Zarzuela Palace, before the royal couple, Zapatero, the Presidents of the Cortes Generales, between other.
Rajoy's government was formed on 21 December 2011 with thirteen ministers—the lowest number in Spanish democratic history. Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Vice President of the Government, Minister of the Presidency, the government spokesman, and Ana Pastor, Minister of Equipment were appointed. The Ministries of Culture, Science, and Territorial Policy were ended, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance was split in two. 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, Minister of Finance, and Miguel Arias Cañete, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, were part of last Aznar government and continue to also occupy the same positions.
First austerity plan
On 30 December 2011, the Council of Ministers approved an austerity plan amounting to 8.9 billion euros in savings and €6.2 billion 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 has been halted, except in the areas of health, education, and security. A program that provided rent assistance for young people was ended, and the minimum wage has been frozen—something that has not happened since 1966. The income tax and tax on real estate was also increased for 2012 and 2013. Pensions have been adjusted up 1%, however, and the tax deduction for the purchase of homes has been reinstated. The premium of 400 euros for the unemployed at the end of law has been maintained and a 4% value-added tax has been expanded to include new home purchases.
Mariano Rajoy is known to be a pro-bullfighting supporter who says the tradition is an art form deep rooted in Spanish history. Thus the 6-year ban on live bullfights broadcast on the state run TV Chanel has been lifted and live bullfights are shown at the traditional 6 pm time on TVE as of September 2012.
Awards and honors
- Order of Charles III (12 September 2003)
- Order of the Aztec Eagle by the Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (18 April 2012)
- Honorary Doctorate by the Sergio Arboleda University in Bogota Colombia (21 April 2012)
- Árbol Genealógico de Mariano Rajoy (Spanish)
- "Ahora sería bueno que hubiera un gobierno con mayoría absoluta". El Mundo. http://www.elmundo.es/papel/2004/03/13/espana/1606169.html. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Election Resources on the Internet: Elections to the Spanish Congress of Deputies – Results Lookup". Electionresources.org. http://www.electionresources.org/es/congress.php?election=2004&province=. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
- CNN.com – Opposition leader survives Madrid helicopter crash – 1 December 2005[dead link]
- Crawford, Leslie (17 January 2008). "Madrid mayor barred by own party". Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a00a6290-c451-11dc-a474-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
- "Sarkozy y Merkel desean de "todo corazón" el triunfo de Mariano Rajoy". Elimparcial.es. 30 January 2008. http://www.elimparcial.es/contenido/2087.html. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Video: Sarkozy y Merkel le desean "un gran éxito" a Rajoy". El País. 30 January 2008. http://www.elpais.com/videos/espana/Sarkozy/Merkel/le/desean/gran/exito/Rajoy/elpvidnac/20080130elpepunac_12/Ves/. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Live bullfights return to Spanish TV after six-year ban". http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19487931. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
- "Mariano Rajoy : "je ne promets aucun miracle"". Euronews. http://fr.euronews.com/2011/11/20/mariano-rajoy-je-ne-promets-aucun-miracle/.
- "El CIS ﬁja en 10 puntos la ventaja del PP sobre Zapatero". Público. http://www.publico.es/espana/373519/el-cis-ja-en-10-puntos-la-ventaja-del-pp-sobre-zapatero.
- "Un gallego pragmático al frente de Educación". El País. 19 January 1999. http://elpais.com/diario/1999/01/19/espana/916700412_850215.html.
- "El congreso del PP elige hoy la lista de 30 nombres dictada por Aznar | Edición impresa work=El País". 30 January 1999. http://elpais.com/diario/1999/01/30/espana/917650807_850215.html.
- "Rajoy: 'Uno habla mucho y a veces se puede equivocar'". El Mundo. 29 October 2007. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2007/10/29/espana/1193663089.html.
- "Rajoy, reelegido presidente del PP pese a no tener el apoyo del 21% de los compromisarios". El Mundo. 21 June 2008. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/06/21/espana/1214081240.html.
- Manuel M. Cascante / Enviado Especial A Bogotá (19 April 2012). "Mariano Rajoy sostiene que su Gobierno ya ha planificado todas las reformas hasta el verano". ABC. http://www.abc.es/20120419/espana/abci-rajoy-bogota-reformas-201204190831.html.
- (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)]
- "Mariano Rajoy". La Vanguardia. http://www.lavanguardia.com/temas/mariano-rajoy/index.html.
- (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)]
- "mariano rajoy | Intereconomía |". Intereconomia.com. http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias/mariano%20rajoy.
- ↑ (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)]
- "Montoro rechaza los planes de ajuste de Cataluña y Andalucía". El País. http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/04/19/actualidad/1334865385_051210.html.
- "Noticias sobre Ley Reforma Laboral". El País. http://politica.elpais.com/tag/ley_reforma_laboral/a/.