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Santiago Casares y Quiroga (A Coruña, Galicia, 8 May 1884 – Paris, 17 February 1950) was a Spanish politician who was Prime Minister of Spain from 13 May to 19 July 1936.[1]

Leader and founder of the Autonomous Galician Republican Organization (ORGA), a Galician regionalist party, Casares participated in the Pact of San Sebastián in 1930, a platform composed of the principal parties of the republican opposition which aimed to bring down the monarchy of Alfonso XIII. He served as representative of the Galician Republican Federation, a republican group formed by his ORGA along with other Galician republican forces such as the Radical Party, the federalists and the radical-socialists.

In December 1930, he was sent clandestinely to Jaca as a delegate of the National Revolutionary Committee (CRN), to prevent Captain Fermín Galán Rodríguez from rising the Jaca garrison in advance of the date agreed by the CRN. Casares Quiroga did not arrive in time to stop Galán, and the rising took place without success. As a result, Casares Quiroga was imprisoned.

With the proclamation of the Republic in April 1931, he was named Minister of Marine in the provisional government, and later was minister of Governance (Interior). He was elected a deputy for ORGA in the Constituent Cortes, and remained Minister of Governance during the socialist-republican biennium (1931-1933) in the government of Manuel Azaña, Casares’ personal friend.

He was reelected to the Cortes in 1933, and in 1934 joined his party (now the Galician Republican Party) with Azaña’s and others to create the Republican Left, a party which would then become a part of the Popular Front. Casares Quiroga was again reelected in February 1936 and was named Minister of Public Works. After Azaña became President of the Republic in May, Casares Quiroga on 10 May became the 132nd Prime Minister and Minister of War. As the prime minister, he organized the referendum on the Galician Statute of Autonomy (the third statute of autonomy under the Republic, after Catalonia and the Basque Country), which was approved on 28 June 1936.

He was serving as prime minister when the military uprising of 17 July 1936 took place, which then developed into the Spanish Civil War. Incapable of confronting the uprising, Casares resigned on 19 July and was replaced by Diego Martínez Barrio, whose government was never confirmed, and then definitely by José Giral. Historians have generally agreed that Casares refused to deliver arms to the revolutionary workers’ organizations as the right-wing uprising unfolded. The memoirs of his daughter María Casares confirm this.

He did not hold any other office during the Civil War, and left for France along with Azaña and Martínez Barrio after the fall of Catalonia. He died in exile in 1950.

Preceded by
Argusto Barcía
Prime Minister of Spain
1936
Succeeded by
Diego Martínez Barrio

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