Freelance Spain
Spain's Top Ten

The ten most influential people in Spain.

1. José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero
The Spanish prime minister was born in 1960 in León. By 1986 he was the youngest representative of the Parliament. Against all issues, he defeated José Bono in the elections to be lider of his party, the Spanish Socialist Party (progressive party). With a political position that he defined as "the easy going change", some sectors of the left criticized him for considering it soft. Nevertheless his popularity grew thanks to his position against the war in Iraq. In March 2004 he gained the general elections, Which were celebrated three days after the terrorist attacks in Madrid . [More]

2. Pedro Solbes
He is one of the independent members of the progressive government, he is in charge of the Economy Minister, also other departments depend on him, such as Labour or Environment. He was also a minister in the government of Felipe González. His biggest challenge is to carry out apolitic economy that would attend all the social demands without leaving a side the economic growth of the conservative phase.

3. Emilio Botín
One of the richest men in Spain, and one of its most influential bankers. He became president of the Banco Santander in 1986 and, following its merger with Banco Hispano Americano and Banco Cemtral became co-president of the resulting BSCH bank. [More]

4. Mariano Rajoy
Tras ser la mano derecha del ex-Presidente, Rajoy fue nombrado líder del conservador Partido Popular en otoño de 2003. Había ocupado puestos de importancia en el gobierno, como Vicepresidente o Ministro de Educación y Cultura. Tras las elecciones de 2004 ha pasado a ocupar un cargo importante dentro del gobierno a ser dirigente del primer partido de la oposición.

5. Jesús de Polanco
Polanco is boss of Spain's biggest media conglomerate: PRISA. It encompasses Spanish most influential newspaper, El País, the Canal+ television network, the SER radio network, in addition to interests in book publishing, Internet, film industry and more.

6. Jose María Aznar
Aznar has been President of the Government since 1996 until 2004. He defeated Felipe Gonzalez after a period that was marked by the corruption and the abuse of the power of the socialist . He managed to raise the Spanish economy by taking advantage of the funds of the European union. Whit a deep conservative ideology, he had to negotiate with the Catalonian nationalists During their first mandate to be able to govern, Therefore, those six years were of a centrist orientation. Nevertheless, after wining in the year 2000 the simple majority, his government adopted from time to time a positions with little dialoges. Probably his biggest error was his unconditional support to George W Bush in the war in Iraq, since the 90% of the Spanish population was opposed openly to the invasion. At present times the ex-former-proxy Aznar, who has become President of Honor of the Popular Party, he carries out a number public apparitions and exercises as professor in the University of Georgetown, where he directs seminars on international politics. [More]

7. César Alierta
Alierta,actual president of Telefónica, the most powerful Spanish company. In full crisis of the telecommunications, he arrived at the business in the year 2000 as the successor of Juan Villalonga. 8. Pedro J Ramírez
Editor of the muckraking daily newspaper, El Mundo, which has played a decisive role in recent Spanish current events. The paper's coverage of scandals involving the government helped bring about the downfall of the socialists in the 1996 elections. This publication, which is the third most read newspaper in Spain after the sports newspaper Marca and El País, has been an important media of support for the Government of Aznar, although not in the crisis of Iraq, when Pedro J. Ramírez showed himself against the war

9. Francisco González
Francisco González is the director of BBVA, the second most impertant banking company in Spain. He has declared recently that he may fuse his business with a European competitor. In 1996 he was named, thanks to in that time Minister of Economy Rodrigo Rato, president of the banking company Argentaria, that would fuse with the Bank Bilbao Vizcaya (BBV) with headquarters in the Basque County. Direct competitor of Emilio Botín, this important businessman is also very fond of golf. Besideshe is a very discrete character who does not like to appear in the mass media. He has threatened to change the headquarters of his banking company out side the Basque County, if the nationalist president Ibarretxe carries out his plan of sovereignty shared with Spain.

10. Pascual Maragall
After the Catalonian elections in December 2003, Pascual Maragall is the first socialist who becomes President of the Catalonian Government, in charge of the PSC, Catalonian branch of the Spanish Socialist Party. In 1999 he had won by a small difference to Jordi Pujol, who managed to continue in power thanks to a government of coalition. Currently Maragall presides Catalonia with the support of Esquerra Republican ( nationalist left party) and Catalonia Verds Esquerra United (branch of United Left in Catalonia). PSC, Esquerra Republican and Catalonia Verds form a government of coalition. Pascual Maragall is one of the few politicians of the Spanish transition that still continue in assets, although he withdrew of the politics for some time after being mayor of Barcelona and after making the city in headquarters of the Olympic Games of 1992, and returning in 1999. In his hands stands the future of one of the regions with the most economic and political weight of Spain.

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