Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mariano Rajoy Brey (born March 27 1955), Spanish politician, is the leader of the conservative Partido Popular (People's Party, PP). Rajoy led his party at the Spanish general election on March 14, which was won by the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE).
Rajoy was born in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia in north-western Spain, a traditionally conservative region. He holds a degree in law from the University of Santiago de Compostela and worked as a property registrar. He started his political career in Galicia in 1981, as a member of the right-wing Alianza Popular ("People's Alliance", AP) party in the Galician regional government.
A long-time collaborator of José María Aznar, he moved into national politics when Aznar became Prime Minister in 1996, serving as Minister of Education and Culture with the first Aznar administration. He managed the successful People's Party campaign in the 2000 elections. In February 2001 he added the Interior Ministry to his duties.
On 30 August 2003, after Aznar announced that he would retire at the 2004 elections, the People's Party elected Rajoy as its new leader. His record as Interior Minister enabled him to run as a "law and order" candidate promising to be tough on Basque terrorism. This issue was expected to assume new importance in the 2004 general elections in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Madrid on March 11, which were initially blamed on the Basque terrorist organisation ETA (but were later proven to be the work of Al-Qaida).
Aznar's government and Party leaders insisted on accusing ETA of the attacks, in spite of the band's denial and of contradicting informations. On March 13, El Mundo newspaper published an interview in which Rajoy himself claimed to be convinced of ETA's responsibility on these crimes. The accusations of manipulation of the information regarding the 11 M, wrested popular support from Rajoy's party and led to the Socialist party's (PSOE) victory in the 2004 elections. According to recent investigations by El Mundo newspaper and some Asturian regional newspapers, there is a claear colaboration between ETA and Islamic groups. The attack was planned during 2001.
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