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José Luis Zapatero

Prime Minister of Spain 2004-2011 & Member of WLA – Club de Madrid
Country: Spain
Fields of Expertise: Politics and Justice

José Luis Zapatero

José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was born in 1960 in Valladolid. He graduated in Law at the University of León and began his career as a professor of Constitutional Law at the same University.

He became a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in 1979, after hearing Felipe Gonzalez speak at a political rally. Zapatero became Secretary-General of the Socialist Federation of León and later served on the PSOE Federal Committee.

In 1986 José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was elected Member of Parliament for León, as Spain’s youngest parliamentarian ever. He was re-elected to Parliament in 1989, 1993, 1996 and 2000, and was elected Secretary-General of the PSOE in July 2000. Three years later, in 2003, Zapatero was elected Vice-president of the Socialist International during the XXII Congress of the organization in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In March 2004, Zapatero led the PSOE party to victory in the Spanish legislative elections, being elected Prime Minister. For the first time in Spanish democratic politics, all opposition parties except for one (Popular Party) voted in favour of the winning party’s candidate for the presidency of government of Spain. He left office on 20 December 2011 and left the PSOE’s Secretary-General post on 2012 to Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba. The same year, Zapatero was appointed to the Spanish State Council. He was also designated President of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

All sessions by José Luis Zapatero

Lessons from the past

29 May 2019
18:15 - 19:15