Suárez González, Adolfo

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Adolfo Suárez González (ädôl´fō swä´rāth gōnthä´lĕth), 1932–2014, Spanish lawyer and political leader. Because he had worked in the Nationalist Movement (the Falange) for 18 years and had become its secretary-general after Franco's death (1975), centrist and leftist forces opposed his appointment as prime minister by King Juan Carlos in July, 1976. A year later Suárez led his Union of the Democratic Center to victory in Spain's first free elections in 41 years. His centrist government instituted democratic reforms, and his coalition won the 1979 elections under the new constitution. Less successful as a day-to-day organizer than as a crisis manager, he was replaced as prime minister in 1981; Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo succeeded him, but only after a failed coup in which Spain's Congress of Deputies was seized while in session. In 1982 he founded the Democratic and Social Center party. He retired from active politics in 1991.