JOSÉ MARÍA AZNAR
Born in Madrid, 1953
Law degree. State Finance Inspector. Practicing Lawyer
Executive President of FAES (The Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis)
President of IADG (Atlantic Institute of Government)
Member of the Board of Directors of New News Corporation
Honorary Chairman of Friends of Israel Initiative
Member of the Advisory Council of the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola from Peru
Member of the International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold Corporation
Member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council of the United States and European Chair of its Latin America Initiative
President of the Honorary Advisory Board at Instituto Bussola
Special Adviser de Latham & Watkins LLP
Concordia Leadership Council Member and chair of the Summit Concordia – The Americas
Member of the Board of Trustees of the Elcano Royal Institute.
He became President of Spain in 1996, following the electoral victory of the Partido Popular. With the party’s subsequent electoral victory in the year 2000, this time with an absolute majority, he led the country again for a new term. His time as President lasted until the elections of 2004, when he voluntarily chose not to run for office again.
Throughout his two terms as President of the Government he led an important process of economic and social reform. Thanks to various liberalisation processes and the introduction of measures to promote competition, along with budgetary controls, rationalised public spending and tax reductions, almost 5 million jobs were created in Spain.
The Spanish GDP figure grew each year by more than 2%, at an average of 3.4% in fact, featuring an aggregate increase of 64% over eight years. Throughout this period, Spain’s average income increased from 78% to 87% of the average income of the European Union. The public deficit decreased from an alarming 6% of GDP to a balanced budget. Furthermore, the first two reductions on the income tax that democratic Spain has ever known took place during his two terms in office.
One of José María Aznar’s most serious concerns is the battle against terrorism. He advocates a firm policy, one that is against any kind of political concession, combined with close international cooperation between democratic countries. He is a strong supporter of the Atlantic Relationship and the European Union’s commitment to freedoms and economic reform.
He chaired the Partido Popular between 1990 and 2004, and was Honorary Chairman until 2016. Until the year 2006 he was the Chairman of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) and Vice-Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU), the two international organisations that bring together the parties of the Centre, along with Liberals, Christian Democrats and Conservatives throughout the world.
José María Aznar began his political career in the political party known as Alianza Popular, in 1979. In 1982 he was elected a Member of Parliament for Ávila. He then went on to become the Regional Chairman of Alianza Popular in Castile-Leon and the Head of the Regional Government of Castile-Leon between 1987 and 1989. In 1989, following the re-founding of the Partido Popular, he was chosen as the party's candidate for President in the general elections of 1989. The following year he was elected Chairman of the Party. He led the Partido Popular in the elections of 1993, 1996 and the year 2000. Throughout these four terms, he served as a Member of Parliament for Madrid. Between 1989 and 1996 he was the Leader of the Opposition.
José María Aznar graduated in law at the Universidad Complutense. He qualified as an Inspector of State Finances in 1975. He was Distinguished Scholar at the University of Georgetown from 2004 to 2011. From 2011 to 2016 he was Distinguished Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, where he founded and headed its Centre for Transatlantic Relations's Atlantic Basin Initiative. In 2014, he founded the Atlantic Institute of Government IADG and he is also its President.
He is married to Ana Botella, with whom he has three children and eight grandchildren.
The Future is Today (2018); Memorias II (2013) (Memoirs), Memorias I (2012) (Memoirs I), España puede salir de la crisis (2009) (Spain Can Get Out of the Crisis), Cartas a un joven español (2007) (Letters to a Young Spaniard), Retratos y perfiles. De Fraga a Bush (2005) (Portraits and Profiles: From Fraga to Bush), Ocho años de Gobierno (2004) (Eight Years in Government), La España en que yo creo (1995) (The Spain I Believe in), España: la segunda transición (1994) (Spain: The Second Transition) and Libertad y Solidaridad (1991) (Freedom and Solidarity).
Doctor honoris causa
Sophia University in Tokyo (1997), Florida International University (1998), Bar-Ilan University in Israel (2005), University of Peruggia (2005), Universidad Andrés Bello in Chile (2006), Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala (2006), Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Milán (2007), Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU in Valencia (2009), Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Perú (2009), Ilia Chavchavadze University in Georgia (2009), Universidad San Antonio in Murcia (2010), Universidad de las Américas in Ecuador (2011) and UADE University (2012).