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Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón


Incumbent
Assumed office 
June 2003
Preceded by José María Álvarez del Manzano

In office
June 1995 – November 2003
Preceded by Joaquín Leguina
Succeeded by Esperanza Aguirre

Born December 11, 1958 (1958-12-11) (age 51)
Madrid, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Political party People's Party
Spouse(s) Maria del Mar Utrera
Children 4
Residence Madrid, Spain
Alma mater San Pablo CEU University
Profession Public Prosecutor, Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón Jiménez (born December 11, 1958) is a Spanish politician and current mayor of Madrid. A stalwart of the conservative People's Party (PP), he has previously been a leading figure in various local and national legislative bodies.

Contents

Personal life

Ruiz-Gallardón was born in Madrid. His father, José María Ruiz-Gallardón, was a member of the leadership of the People's Alliance (AP), precursor to the present-day People's Party. He attended secondary school in Madrid at the Jesuit School de Nuestra Señora del Recuerdo, where he was an outstanding student, and then studied law at the Universidad San Pablo CEU.

He is married to María del Mar Utrera, who is the daughter of José Utrera Molina, a former Minister of the Franco regime. They have four sons, Alberto, José, Ignacio and Rodrigo.

Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon is a cousin of Trinidad Jiménez, the current Minister of Health and Social Policy of Spain.

Political life

As a lawyer, Ruiz-Gallardón sat for exams to begin a career as a prosecutor at the age of 23. He attained the position, ranking second in the twenty eighth year. He was given a position in the Málaga Provincial Court, where he served for a short time until given leave to take charge of the party's legal counsel.

In May 1983 he was elected to Madrid city council. In February 1986, at the party's Seventh National Congress, he joined its Executive Committee. In the same year, he ran unsuccessfully as a Senate candidate for Palencia in the general elections but finished fifth, 301 votes behind the successful PSOE candidate, in a district where four candidates were elected.[1] In the aftermath, the secretary general of his party, Jorge Verstrynge, retired and Ruiz-Gallardón became the interim secretary general until the Party Congress could convene.

His next political position was in December 1986, when the regional leadership of AP in Madrid nominated him as candidate for the presidency of the Autonomous Community of Madrid with no eventual success. In February 1987, the Eighth Extraordinary Congress of the AP appointed Antonio Hernández Mancha as chairman. Ruiz-Gallardón left his interim general secretary position and was named one of the four vice-chairmans of the party.

Ruiz-Gallardón was elected Deputy of the Madrid Assembly on June 10, 1987. Only one month later, he was elected to the Senate in the delegation designated by the Madrid Assembly and named spokesman of the AP Parliamentary Group body. On October 22, 1988, Ruiz-Gallardón resigned his party positions as the result of a misunderstanding with chairman Mancha over an agreement with the CDS regarding Assembly rules. At the party's Ninth Congress in January 1989, Mancha was replaced as chairman by Manuel Fraga. The party was re-founded as the People's Party (PP), and Ruiz-Gallardón was appointed to the National Executive Committee and became president on the Committee for Conflicts and Discipline.

Following the general elections on October 29, 1989, Ruiz-Gallardón continued serving as a senator for Madrid and, as in the previous legislature, headed the PP Parliamentary Group in the Senate. He returned to the PP's National Executive Committee at the Tenth Congress, this time with José María Aznar as party chairman. He also retained his position as president of the Committee on Conflicts. In April 1990, he headed an internal investigation of the Caso Naseiro. This investigation resulted in the expulsion of several party officials.

First among his party's candidates for the Senate in Madrid in the general elections of June 6, 1993, Ruiz-Gallardón was once again elected to the Senate. He continued as Spokesman of the PP Parliamentary Group, and subsequently resigned his corresponding position in the Madrid Assembly.

President of the Community of Madrid

In May 28, 1995 Ruiz Gallardón ran for the presidency of the Community of Madrid on PP's Ticket, securing for the first time a majority of seats in the Assembly. He was elected President of the Community of Madrid by the Madrid Assembly one month later . Ruiz Gallardón ran for re-election in the 1999 elections, again securing a majority of seats.

During his tenure as regional president, Ruiz Gallardón obtained a high degree of popularity, because of his apparently moderate attitude, especially compared to several leaders of his Party. Following José María Aznar's announcement that he would not seek re-election as Prime Minister in 2004, Gallardón was one of the PP leaders that were mentioned as possible successors by the mainstream media.

Mayor of Madrid

Encouraged by the Prime Minister José María Aznar, Gallardón became the PP's candidate for the Madrid mayoral election of 2003. He was successful in his bid, obtaining a majority of the votes. One of his first decisions was to increase city taxes as a means to back his future plans for the city.

Nicknamed ironically the "Pharaoh" by many locals, the mayor has created an urban renewal plan for Madrid that included the undergrounding of parts of the M30 motorway, the redevelopment of the Manzanares River bank, a push for the virtual gentrification of dwindling historic downtown areas, and a reform of the existing finance laws. In fact, the Madrid bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics figured as the most ambitious component of his plan despite being planned by his predecessor, José María Álvarez del Manzano. Several other projects, such as the four skyscrapers under construction in the old training grounds of Real Madrid, have boosted his urban plans.

In May 2006, Baroness Carmen Cervera publicly demonstrated against his plan to reform Paseo del Prado, as the baroness feared for the effects on her co-managed Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Gallardón is well known as a centrist politician, which places him on the moderate wing of his conservative political party. During his administration Madrid began following the new same-sex marriage legislation supported by the national government and approved by the Spanish Congress of Deputies.

Future

Ruiz-Gallardón has been considered of one of the most possible future leaders of PP, his moderate views make him one of the most valued politicians in the Gallup polls, rivalling in the race for leadership with the President of the Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, who is also the Madrid regional chairwoman of PP. In the time to the upcoming for the 2008 general election, Ruiz-Gallardón announced his intention to be placed in the Madrid (Spanish Congress Electoral District) congressional list of PP. Being a mayor, his inclusion in the list would have been an exception to the Party by-laws that ban mayors of cities over 100'000 inhabitants from running to the Congress of Deputies. This move was not approved by Aguirre who announced her intention to resign as President of Madrid in order to run for national deputy as well (Members of the regional legislatures are barred from the Cortes Generales). On January 15 2008, Mr Rajoy (leader of the PP Party) announced that Mr. Gallardón would not be included in the PP lists for General Elections. Mrs. Aguirre had won the intense internal battle with Mr.Gallardón. Following this announcement, Mr. Ruiz-Gallardón indicated his intention to retire from politics, although the next day he softened his response, and said he will "reflect" about his political future after the March 2008 General Elections. [2]

References

Preceded by
José María Álvarez del Manzano
Mayor of Madrid
2003–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
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