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Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo

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The Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
26 February 1981 – 2 December 1982
MonarchJuan Carlos I
DeputyRodolfo Martín Villa
Juan Antonio García Díez
Preceded byAdolfo Suárez
Succeeded byFelipe González
Second Deputy Prime Minister of Spain
In office
9 September 1980 – 25 February 1981
Prime MinisterAdolfo Suárez
Preceded byFernando Abril Martorell
Succeeded byJuan Antonio García Díez
Minister of Economy
In office
9 September 1980 – 25 February 1981
Prime MinisterAdolfo Suárez
Preceded byFernando Abril Martorell
Succeeded byJosé Luis Leal Maldonado
Minister for Relations with the European Communities
In office
25 February 1978 – 9 September 1980
Prime MinisterAdolfo Suárez
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded byEduard Punset
Minister of Public Works
In office
4 July 1976 – April 1977
Prime MinisterAdolfo Suárez
Preceded byAntonio Valdés
Succeeded byLuis Ortiz González
Minister of Trade
In office
13 December 1975 – 6 July 1976
Prime MinisterCarlos Arias Navarro
Preceded byJosé Luis Cerón Ayuso
Succeeded byJosé Lladó
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
22 July 1977 – 31 August 1982
In office
28 July 1983 – 23 April 1986
Personal details
Leopoldo Ramón Pedro Calvo-Sotelo y Bustelo

(1926-04-14)14 April 1926
Madrid, Spain
Died3 May 2008(2008-05-03) (aged 82)
Pozuelo de Alarcón, Spain
Resting placeRibadeo Cemetery, Galicia, Spain
Political partyUnion of the Democratic Centre (1977–1983)
SpouseMaría del Pilar Ibáñez-Martín Mellado

Leopoldo Ramón Pedro Calvo-Sotelo y Bustelo, 1st Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo (Spanish pronunciation: [leoˈpoldo ˈkalβosoˈteloj βusˈtelo]; 14 April 1926 – 3 May 2008), usually known as Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, was Prime Minister of Spain between 1981 and 1982.

Early life and career[edit]

Calvo-Sotelo was born into a prominent political family in Madrid on 14 April 1926 with his father, Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo,[1] and his mother, Mercedes Bustelo Márquez.[2] The assassination of his uncle, José Calvo Sotelo, who had been finance minister under Miguel Primo de Rivera, was a key event leading up to the Spanish Civil War.[2] Calvo-Sotelo graduated as a civil engineer from the School of Civil Engineers of Madrid now part of the Technical University of Madrid, working in the area of applications of chemistry to the industry.[2]

He was the president of Renfe (the Spanish national railroad network) between 1967 and 1968. Calvo-Sotelo was elected solicitor (Deputy) of Franco's Cortes, representing industrialists in the Union of Chemical Industries, in 1971.[2] A monarchist, Sotelo was one of the founders of an association of politicians, mostly of Rightists and Center Rightists, which disguised as the Fedisa publishing firm helped Spain's peaceful transition into democracy.[2]

Political career[edit]

Calvo-Sotelo was designated Minister of Commerce by Carlos Arias Navarro to be in the first government of the Monarchy (December 1975 – July 1976).[2] He advocated a true transition to democracy instead of mere superficial changes that politicians like Navarro planned.[2] Calvo-Sotelo was kept in the cabinet of Adolfo Suárez upon his succession to premiership in 1976 and directed several centre-right and centre-left political associations into one party, the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD).[2] Calvo-Sotelo was part of the Tacito group in the cabinet along with Eduardo Carriles, Andrés Reguera, Landelino Lavilla, Enrique de la Mata, Marcelino Oreja and Alfonso Osorio.[3] The UCD won in both the June 1977 and the March 1979 elections[2] and Calvo-Sotelo was elected MP for Madrid.

President of the Government of Spain[edit]

Suárez decided to keep him in the Cabinet, first from 1978 to 1980 as Minister for Relations of the European Economic Community, then as Second Vicepresident in charge of economic affairs.[2] After the resignation of Suárez on 29 January 1981, he was supposed to be appointed Prime Minister (Presidente del Gobierno) on 23 February, and advocated Spain's proposed entry into NATO as soon as possible.[2] However, on that date a session of the Congress of Deputies was interrupted by the attempted coup of 23-F.[2] After the failed coup, his appointment as Prime Minister was confirmed on 25 February by the vote of all the UCD members of the congress and 21 others as well, giving him a majority of 186 to 158.[2] Splits in the UCD group led to the formation of three rival parties, the Democratic Action Party (Partido de Acción Democrática/PAD), which soon merged with the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), the Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) and Democratic Popular Party (PDP), resulting in the UCD being unable to count on sufficient support in the legislature. Fresh elections were called, resulting in a heavy defeat for the UCD, which won only 12 seats at the 1982 election compared to 168 in 1979. He served as Prime Minister until 1 December 1982 and was succeeded by the socialist Felipe González.[2]

Later years[edit]

In 2002, Calvo-Sotelo was raised into the Spanish nobility by King Juan Carlos of Spain and given the hereditary title of Marqués de la Ría de Ribadeo (Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo), together with the dignity Grande de España (English: Grandee of Spain), this in honour for his service.[4][5]

Calvo-Sotelo was also a member of the Club of Madrid[6] and of the Spanish Royal Academy of Engineering.

He wrote several political autobiographical books: Memoria viva de la transición (Living memory of the Spanish transition), Papeles de un cesante (Papers from an unemployed person), and Pláticas de familia (1878–2003) (Family talks (1878-2003)).[7]

He died of natural causes at his home in Pozuelo de Alarcón, on 3 May 2008 aged 82.[8]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to María del Pilar Ibáñez-Martín y Mellado and had eight children:

  • Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 4 September 1957), 2nd Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo, married to Cristina Egea y Gutiérrez-Cortines.
  • Juan Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 14 November 1958), married to Lucía Fernández y Cartuxo
  • María del Pilar Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 20 October 1959), married to Carlos Delclaux y Zulueta
  • Pedro Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 20 December 1960), married to María Alvarez-Cascos y Gómez de Arteche
  • Víctor Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 24 November 1961), unmarried and without issue
  • José María Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 2 May 1964), unmarried and without issue
  • Andrés Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 14 August 1965), twin with the below, unmarried and without issue
  • Pablo Calvo-Sotelo e Ibáñez-Martín (born 14 August 1965), twin with the above, married to Elvira García-Bellido y Capdevilla

General references[edit]

  • Mclean, Renwick (2006). "Spain Takes a Proud Look Back." International Herald Tribune. 24 February.
  • Preston, Paul (1990). The Triumph of Democracy in Spain. London: Routledge.
  • Rogers, Eamonn and Valerie Rogers, eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture. London: Routledge.
  • Walker, Jane (2006). "The Day Freedom Was Put in Peril." The Irish Times. 23 February.


  1. ^ Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo y Bustelo, 1. marqués de Ría de Ribadeo GeneAll
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo: Post-Franco Prime Minister of Spain who survived an attempted coup and was determined to see the country join Nato". The Times. UK. 5 May 2008. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  3. ^ Maria Cristina Palomares (2002). The quest for survival after Franco: The moderate Francoists' slow journey to the polls (1964-1977) (PhD thesis). London School of Economics and Political Science. p. 296. Archived from the original on 15 July 2021.
  4. ^ R., Juan Carlos (25 June 2002). Acebes Pinagua, Ángel (ed.). "REAL DECRETO 591/2002, de 24 de junio, por el que se concede el título de Marqués de la Ría de Ribadeo, con Grandeza de España, a don Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo y Bustelo" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (151). Ministerio de Justicia: 2291. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  5. ^ X. M. P. (25 June 2002). "El Rey nombra a Calvo-Sotelo marqués de la Ría de Ribadeo con Grandeza de España". La Voz de Galicia (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo ex Presidente de España miembro club madrid". Club of Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Monárquico y centrista, figura clave de la Transición". RTVE. Retrieved 1 June 2024.
  8. ^ Durán, Luis F.; Blasco, Pedro (3 May 2008). "Fallece a los 82 años el ex presidente del Gobierno Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo". El Mundo (in Spanish). Mundinteractivos, S.A. Retrieved 10 May 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Commerce
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Public Works
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Office created
Minister for Relations with the European Communities
Succeeded by
Preceded by Second Deputy Prime Minister of Spain
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Economy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Spain
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Office created
Secretary-General of the Union of the Democratic Centre
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Office created
Leader of the Centrist Group in the Congress of Deputies
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Union of the Democratic Centre
Succeeded by
Spanish nobility
New creation Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo
Succeeded by