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Adolfo Suárez

Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 1996

Adolfo Suárez (Cebreros, Ávila, Spain, 1932 - Madrid, Spain, 2014) graduated and took his doctorate in Law in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He held several offices of responsibility within the administration, such as Governor of Segovia (1968-1969), Director General of TVE (1969-1973), general secretary of the Movement (1975-1976) and, finally, after the death of Franco, he was appointed president of the government by H.M. the King Juan Carlos I in 1976. A great expert on the institutions of the previous regime, he concentrated his efforts on the promotion -by means of dialogue and integration- of the Political Reform Act, passed by referendum in December of 1976 and which led him to decree amnesty for political crimes. The aim of this Act was to set out on a path of transition towards a democratic and constitutional system in Spain. As well as favouring the legalization of all political parties, Suárez founded the Unión de Centro Democrático, with which he won the general elections in June 1977, from which emerged the assembly which was charged with the elaboration and approval of the current Constitution.

Shortly after the elections, in October 1977, he succeeded in uniting the political parties and social partners to sign, in view of the pressing economic situation, the so-called "Moncloa Pacts", whilst initiating the process of decentralization towards the autonomous communities, establishing the first statutes of pre-autonomy. After his demission as President of the Government in 1981, he retired from political life, to return shortly afterwards and create the Centro Democrático Social, whereupon he was elected member of parliament, leaving politics for good in 1991.

What is exceptional in Adolfo Suárez is his "exemplary political behaviour in founding our democracy, his irreproachable personal conduct and his decisive contribution towards a Constitution for all Spaniards based on consensus". This role, and his defense of democratic values in Spain within the context of a society disposed towards dialogue, tolerance and prepared to put past divisions behind it,  led him to receive several acknowledgements on a world-wide scale.

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