José María Aznar
José María Aznar is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He is concurrently Executive President of FAES Presidente Ejecutivo de FAES (The Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis), Member of the Board of Directors of News Corporation, and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council of the United States.
As leader of the Partido Popular, he became President of the Government of Spain in the 1996 elections, and served two terms as President, ending in 2004. He remains the Honorary Chairman of the Partido Popular, a party he chaired between 1990 and 2004. Until the year 2006 he was the President of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) and Vice-President of the International Democrat Union (IDU), the two international organizations that bring together the parties of the Centre, along with Liberals, Christian Democrats and Conservatives throughout the world.
José María Aznar began his political career in the political party known as Alianza Popular, in 1979. In 1982 he was elected a Member of Parliament for Ávila. He then went on to become the Regional Chairman of Alianza Popular in Castile-Leon and the Head of the Regional Government of Castile-Leon between 1987 and 1989. In 1989, following the re-founding of the Partido Popular, he was chosen as a party candidate for Prime Minister in the general elections of 1989. The following year he was elected Chairman of the Party. He led the Partido Popular in the elections of 1993, 1996 and the year 2000. Throughout these four legislatures, he served as a Member of Parliament for Madrid. Between 1989 and 1996 he was the Leader of the Opposition.
José María Aznar graduated in law at the Complutense University. He qualified as an Inspector of State Finances in 1975.
He has written the following books: Retratos y Perfiles. De Fraga a Bush (2005) (“Portraits and Profiles: From Fraga to Bush”), Ocho años de Gobierno (2004) (“Eight Years in Government”), La España en que yo creo (1995) (“The Spain I Believe in”), España: la segunda transición (1994) (“Spain: The Second Transition”) and Libertad y Solidaridad (1991) (“Freedom and Solidarity”).
José María Aznar has been awarded honorary doctorates by Sophia University in Tokyo (1997), Florida International University (1998), Bar-Ilan University in Israel (2005) Ciencias Aplicadas University in Perú (2006), Andrés Belló University in Chile (2006), Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala (2006) and by Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Milán (2007). He is married to Ana Botella, with whom he has three children and two grandchildren.