José María Aznar was born in Madrid in 1953. He became President of Spain in 1996, following the electoral victory of the Partido Popular. With the party’s subsequent electoral victory in the year 2000, this time with an absolute majority, he led the country again for a new term. His time as President lasted until the elections of 2004, when he voluntarily chose not to run for office again.
Throughout his two terms as President of the Government he led an important process of economic and social reform. Thanks to various liberalisation processes and the introduction of measures to promote competition, along with budgetary controls, rationalised public spending and tax reductions, almost 5 million jobs were created in Spain. The Spanish GDP figure grew each year by more than 2%, at an average of 3.4% in fact, featuring an aggregate increase of 64% over eight years. Throughout this period, Spain’s average income increased from 78% to 87% of the average income of the European Union. The public deficit decreased from an alarming 6% of GDP to a balanced budget. Furthermore, the first two reductions on the income tax that democratic Spain has ever known took place during his two terms in office.
One of José María Aznar’s most serious concerns is the battle against terrorism. He advocates a firm policy, one that is against any kind of political concession, combined with close international cooperation between democratic countries. He is a strong supporter of the Atlantic Relationship and the European Union’s commitment to freedoms and economic reform.
He is the Honorary Chairman of the Partido Popular, a party he chaired between 1990 and 2004. Until the year 2006 he was the Chairman of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) and Vice-Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU), the two international organisations that bring together the parties of the Centre, along with Liberals, Christian Democrats and Conservatives throughout the world.