H.E. José María Aznar

Former President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain

H.E. José María Aznar served as President of the Government of Spain from 1996 – 2004. He graduated in law in 1975 at the Complutense University of Madrid and became a Spanish Tax Authority Inspector in 1976. Following the restoration of democracy in Spain, he become involved in politics, joined the Alianza Popular Party and was elected to Parliament in 1982. In 1989 he was voted by the National Executive Committee to be the new leader of his party, now re-founded as the Partido Popular (People’s Party, or PP). The People’s Party won the 1996 general election and Aznar was elected Prime Minister. In 1999, the European Union introduced the euro which was considered to be a major success for Aznar and his government. Steady economic growth and falling unemployment brought Aznar and his government public support and Spanish voters re-elected him in the 2000 general election with an outright majority. Aznar chaired the Partido Popular between 1990 and 2004 and was its Honorary Chairman until 2016. In January 2004 Aznar called a general election and resigned as Prime Minister having pledged not to seek office for a third term. Since leaving office, Aznar was appointed Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. from 2004 to 2011. From 2011 to 2016 he was a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Batlimore, Maryland where he founded and headed its Centre for Transatlantic Relations - Atlantic Basin Initiative. In 2014, he founded the Atlantic Institute of Government and he is also its President.