Childhood & Early Life
Born on 27th March 1955 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to an elite Spanish family, Rajoy is one among three boys of Mariano Rajoy Sobredo. His grandfather, Enrique Rajoy Leloup, was a much esteemed Architect, who is credited as one of the architects of the Statue of Autonomy of Galicia. Rajoy’s father worked as the president and a jurist of the provincial court of Pontevedra.
When Rajoy was in secondary school, his father got transferred to Leon and Rajoy had to complete the school there, after that he went on to study law at the law faculty in Santiago de Compostela. Post his graduation, he entered the civil services and became a property registrar at the age of 23. He was good in studies, and in those times, he was the youngest property registrar in the entire Spain.
He was then assigned to work in Leon and Alicante and during that time in the late 70’s, he got in a very bad accident, which caused his face to have a permanent scar. He later laughed off about it in interviews and said that he has grown the beard to cover the scars from the accident.
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Mariano Rajoy joined the People’s Alliance, the right-wing party and became a deputy in the Galician Parliament in 1981 and by the next year, he got promoted as Minister of Institutional Relations of Xunta de Galicia. Four years later, his hard work promoted him as the President of Provincial Council, Pontevedra and he remained on the position until 1991. In between, he kept himself busy with assuming different positions within the party and took the post of President of Xunta de Galicia.
In the year 1989, People’s Alliance went into merging with two other parties, becoming People’s Party and Manuel Fraga became party’s president. Rajoy was in his good-books and was named as member of the National Executive Committee. When PP scored big in the 1996’s general elections, Rajoy became a member of Commission of Parliamentary Control. In March 1996, PP won the parliamentary elections and formed the government with a few other political parties, while Rajoy was appointed as Minister of Public Administration.
In January 1999, he replaced Esperanza Aguirre to become the Minister of Education and Culture and right after this big feat, he was appointed as the vice-president of People’s Party. Rajoy was on a roll by then and his personal relations with the Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar made him grow rapidly through important positions in the government. One such big promotion happened in February 2001, when he became Interior Minister and in the very next year, he became the spokesperson for the government.
By then, he had become almost the right hand man of the President of People’s Party, Aznar, as he announced his retirement from politics. Rajoy was named by him as his successor and Rajoy, as a result became the new chairman of the party in October 2004. PP had just lost the elections, which forced Aznar to take the retirement. PSOE formed the government and as the leader of opposition, Rajoy had to work hard to bring his party on the top.
During the 2008 general elections, Rajoy faced a lot of flak from within the party due to his decision of keeping Alberto Gallardon out of the elections. The general belief was that Alberto was a popular politician and having him on-board could have ensured a victory. And moreover, he was known to follow a centrist approach to politics, while Rajoy was a conservative. This led to a risk of party dividing in two, but external support from Germany and France ensured Rajoy’s position as the leader of the People’s Party. The election was lost.
But the 2011 election was a whole another story; it was dominated with blame games on the economical issues and PSOE was accused of slowing down the pace of Spanish economy, which in turn caused the lack of employment opportunities for the Spanish youth. Rajoy showed the declining data to the media and said that this is a sad phase for Spain and that the socialist government of PSOE doesn’t know how to handle this situation efficiently and promised that when he forms the government, this all will change.
In November 2011, PP secured a record victory in the general elections and Rajoy was named the Prime Minister of Spain on 21st December 2011. However, his first act as the Prime Minister was bold, but received quite a lot of criticism. He appointed 13 ministers, which was lowest any government prior to him had. Right after he assumed the position, he took several hard steps of cutting out several ministries, halting the rent assistance, increased tax among many other things, to bring Spain out of the financial crisis that it was facing.
In the 2015 elections, the People’s Party remained in the government as the most voted party but it somehow lost its majority in the parliament. It led to a complex situation and the decision was taken to carry out re-elections, which took place in 2016 and despite again falling short of seats, Rajoy was re-elected as the Prime Minister after a few PSOE members abstained from voting. By that year, the Spanish economy had shown great signs of improvement and emerged as one of the fastest growing European economies, resulting in a general support for Rajoy.
In 2018, Mariano Rajoy's was rocked by the court ruling on the Gürtel corruption scandal in which a number of former Poeple Party officials were convicted. Following the court ruling, Pedro Sánchez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), introduced a motion of no confidence against Rajoy government.
On 1 June 2018, Rajoy lost the motion with 180 votes in favour of the motion, 169 against, and 1 abstention. He resigned as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Pedro Sanchez
On 5 June 2018, Mariano Rajoy resigned as the President of the People's Party.
Documents emerged in 2013, claiming that the People’s Party had undeclared income during the second half of the 90’s and that Mariano Rajoy had taken black money from the treasurer of PP in heaps. Following this, a petition was started to force Rajoy’s resignation from the position of Prime Minister which was signed by almost a million people. The former party treasurer accepted the blames and said that the party was getting funded illegally for more than 20 years. The opposition asked for explanations from Rajoy, to which Rajoy responded strongly and appeared before the congress, writing off all the allegations.
Rajoy is one of the very few leaders of Spain, who have supported the Bull fighting game, saying that it’s an integral part of their culture and must be there. He also allowed telecasting the sport on the Television.