Esperanza Aguirre

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Esperanza Aguirre
3rd President of the Community of Madrid
In office
8 November 2003 – 26 September 2012
MonarchJuan Carlos I
Preceded byAlberto Ruiz-Gallardón
Succeeded byIgnacio González
President of the Senate
In office
9 February 1999 – 16 October 2002
Preceded byJuan Ignacio Barrero
Succeeded byJuan José Lucas
Minister of Education, Culture and Sport
In office
5 May 1996 – 19 January 1999
Prime MinisterJosé María Aznar
Preceded byJerónimo Saavedra (Education)
Carmen Alborch (Culture)
Succeeded byMariano Rajoy
Member of the Senate
In office
3 March 1996 – 21 November 2002
Member of the Assembly of Madrid
In office
25 May 2003 – 19 September 2012
Personal details
Esperanza Fuencisla Aguirre y Gil de Biedma[1]

(1952-01-03) 3 January 1952 (age 72)
Madrid, Spain
Political partyLiberal Union (1983–1984)
Liberal Party (1984–1986)
People's Alliance (1987–1989)
People's Party (1989–present)
(m. 1974)
Children2, including Fernando
Alma materComplutense University
OccupationPolitician, civil servant

Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma (Spanish pronunciation: [espeˈɾanθa aˈɣire]; born 3 January 1952)[2] is a Spanish politician. As member of the People's Party (PP), she served as President of the Senate between 1999 and 2002 (becoming the first female politician to have held the post), as President of the Community of Madrid between 2003 and 2012 and as Minister of Education and Culture (1996–1999). She also chaired the People's Party of the Community of Madrid between 2004 and 2016.


Early life[edit]

Aguirre was born in Madrid on 3 January 1952[3] being the eldest daughter of José Luis Aguirre Borrell, a noted lawyer, and Piedad Gil de Biedma Vega de Seoane, the sister of the poet Jaime Gil de Biedma.[4][5] She is also second cousin of the photographer Ouka Leele.[6] She studied in the La Asunción School and in the British Council School of Madrid and earned a degree in Law at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1974.[7] Aside from Spanish, she is reportedly fluent in English and French, has basic notions of Italian and "understands" Catalan.[8]

In 1974, Aguirre married Fernando Ramírez de Haro,[9] 15th Count of Murillo, 16th Count of Bornos (Grandee of Spain), whom with she has had two sons: Fernando (born 1976) and Álvaro (born 1980).[9][5]

In 1976 Aguirre became a civil servant, as member of the Corps of Information of Tourism's Technicians.[10] She was head of the Department of Publicity and Tourism, where she remained until 1979. Subsequently, she had many different jobs in the Ministry of Culture, serving several Ministers during the Democratic Centre Union governments; especially designated by the Prime Minister himself. In 1979, she was chief of staff of the General Director of Literature and Cinematography. She was appointed Deputy General Director of Studies of the Technical General Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture in 1980. In 1981, she was appointed Deputy General Director in the Advisory Staff of the Secretary of State of Culture. Her last position with the Administration was as Deputy General Director of Cultural Associations.

First spell in local politics[edit]

Since her early years Aguirre had been a member of the Club Liberal of Madrid, which was presided over by Pedro Schwartz.[11] Schwartz reportedly played an important role in the beginnings of Aguirre's political career: in 1983, he was the one to convince her, by then a civil servant; to stand as candidate in the Madrid local elections running in the list of the political alliance between Schwartz's Liberal Union, the People's Alliance and the People's Democratic Party. She was elected as became a municipal councillor.[12] While in opposition, she was a member of the Standing Committee of the Madrid City Council, a CP spokeswoman on the areas of Culture, Education, Youth and Sports Affairs, and the Moncloa-Aravaca district. When the Liberal Union merged with the Liberal Party in December 1984, she held different positions in the National Executive and the Political Council of José Antonio Segurado's Liberal Party.

In 1987 she left the Liberal Party and joined Popular Alliance, which later, in 1989, was refounded as the People's Party (PP). She was subsequently re-elected to the city council and continued in opposition until 1989, when a successful vote of no confidence ousted the PSOE mayor Juan Barranco, which allowed the PP and Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) to govern Madrid for the first time since the restoration of competitive municipal elections in 1979, under the Mayorship of Agustín Rodríguez Sahagún (CDS). In the new local executive, she was designated head of the Department of the Environment.

The PP won a council majority in the 1991 election and José María Álvarez del Manzano was subsequently invested as new mayor, with Aguirre remaining in the municipal government board. Two years later, in 1993, in the reshuffle that followed the fall from grace of firebrand councillor Ángel Matanzo, she assumed additional competences becoming Councillor of Environment, Education, Culture and Sports.[13] In June 1995, after the May election, she became the municipal spokeswoman of the PP and first deputy mayor.[13] Soon after, she was also appointed by the City Council to the Caja Madrid Board of Governors.

Minister of Education, Culture and Sports[edit]

Aguirre in May 1996 next to the PM José María Aznar and fellow ministers Loyola de Palacio, Margarita Mariscal de Gante and Isabel Tocino.

In the general election of 1996 she was the candidate for the Senate for Madrid of the People's Party, after her designation as a member of the National Executive Committee of the Party; and she became a senator. The then new President, José María Aznar, appointed her to be Minister of Education, Culture and Sports. She was succeeded in those posts in 1999 by Mariano Rajoy.

President of the Senate[edit]

Aguirre, a Senator since 1996, was elected President of the Senate in February 1999, the first woman to do so. In March 2000, she was re-elected Senator for Madrid, becoming the top-voted candidate in Spain with 1.55 million votes and 50.7% of the popular vote, a percentage record still unbroken.[14] She resigned in 2002 to run for the Presidency of the Autonomous Community of Madrid in the regional Assembly elections of 2003. She was substituted as President of the Senate by Juan José Lucas.


When the regional elections took place in May 2003, the People's Party won a plurality of seats. The People's Party won 55 seats in the Madrid Assembly, being the only party of the right in the Assembly. On the left, PSOE won 47 seats and United Left won 9 seats, thus making it possible for a coalition of PSOE and IU to rule. However, the election of a leftist coalition was not possible due to two dissenting deputies of the PSOE, Eduardo Tamayo and María Teresa Sáez, who refused to obey the party whip in the first two votes, the election of the speaker and the election of the president.[citation needed]

Presidency of the Community of Madrid[edit]

Dressed as chulapa during the campaign for the 2011 regional election

In October 2003, following the scandal of the dissenting deputies, the regional elections were rerun. The People's Party won a qualified majority of seats, which enabled Aguirre's investiture as President of the Community of Madrid. Aguirre's most important stated achievements in those years[when?] were the reduction of surgery waiting times, the building of eight new hospitals and 87 new state schools (most of them bilingual), an increase in the investment for several scholarships of education, and the expansion of the Underground to suburban areas such as Pozuelo de Alarcón.[citation needed] The period included the peak of the Spanish construction bubble, and many of her associates would later end up indicted for corruption.

On 27 November 2008, she survived without injury the 2008 Mumbai attacks when shooting began in the Oberoi Trident while she was checking in.[15]

Aguirre announced her retirement as president on 17 September 2012, citing health issues, and that she would return to her career as a civil servant at the Ministry of Tourism.[16][17]

Activity after her resignation as regional president[edit]

Aguirre remained as President of the People's Party of the Community of Madrid. On 13 January 2013 the Seeliger and Conde Foundation, an executive search firm, announced the appointment of Esperanza Aguirre as Chairwoman of its Advisory Council, an office compatible with the role of Chairwoman of the People's Party of the Community of Madrid.[18]

Comeback to local politics[edit]

Aguirre on 13 June 2015, during the inaugural session of the new municipal council in which Manuela Carmena was invested as Mayor.

Designated in 2015 by Mariano Rajoy as the PP's Mayoral candidate for the municipality of Madrid, she subsequently ran first in the PP's list for the May 2015 Madrid municipal election. The PP's list obtained a simple majority of 20 seats out of a total 57, short of the qualified majority needed to remain in government without support from other political parties. She then unsuccessfully pressed to reach a three-way deal between the PP, Citizens and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) to avoid the investiture as Mayor's of the candidate of the left-wing Ahora Madrid, Manuela Carmena, with the support of the PSOE's municipal councillors.[19] Soon after the investiture of Carmena as Mayor on 13 June 2015, Aguirre unsuccessfully proposed again another deal with Citizens and the PSOE to oust Carmena.[20]

In 2016, Aguirre resigned from her position as regional party president, ostensibly due to the many corruption cases in the Madrilenian PP under her watch. She retained her position of opposition leader in the Madrid municipal government, and the overall maneuver was widely interpreted as a broadside against her party rival, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.[21]

On 24 April 2017, she resigned as municipal councillor (and from all relating offices) after the imprisonment of her former right-hand man, Ignacio González (also her successor as regional president) for misappropriation of public funds in the Lezo corruption scandal. She was replaced as spokesperson of the PP municipal group by José Luis Martínez-Almeida.[22]

Life after retirement and judicial case[edit]

After her retirement, she divided her spare time between the dedication to her 6 grandchildren and her passion for golf.[23] Following an August 2019 request filed by the Prosecution service of the Audiencia Nacional before the instructing judge Manuel García-Castellón,[24] the former charged Aguirre (along with her successors in the presidency of the Madrid region, Ignacio González and Cristina Cifuentes)[25] with alleged crimes of illicit funding, diversion of public money and document forgery on 2 September 2019 in the proceedings of the Púnica corruption case. García-Castellón, pointed out on a tentative basis the alleged "decisive and essential" role of Aguirre in the PP's illegal funding scheme, through which more than 6 million euros were subtracted from 8 regional ministries and agencies.[26][27]

On 19 March 2020 alongside her husband, Aguirre was admitted to the hospital after being tested positive for COVID-19 during coronavirus pandemic in Spain.[28]

Positions and ideology[edit]

Esperanza Aguirre self-defines as a "liberal".[29] Known by her professed anglophilia,[30] she has cited her admiration for the figure of Margaret Thatcher.[31] According to Jorge del Palacio, Aguirre aimed to develop a Spanish version of the uneasy union between conservatism and the liberalism inspired by Friederich Hayek.[32] She has often been regarded as a leading figure of the most conservative wing of the PP,[33][34] and, having reportedly held political differences and an uneasy personal relationship with PP's leader Mariano Rajoy, she personally asked the latter for a change in the leadership of the party before the June 2016 general election.[35][36]





  1. ^ El Norte de Castilla
  2. ^ Who's who in Spain. Intercontinental Book and Publishing Company. 1988. p. 14.
  3. ^ "Esperanza Aguirre aspira a convertirse en la primera mujer presidenta de una comunidad autónoma". Madridiario.
  4. ^ Pardo de Vera, Ana (5 November 2003). "Negocios, fortuna y nobleza en la Presidencia de Madrid. Los Aguirre". El Siglo de Europa (506). Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b Guerra, Andrés (12 May 2015). "Así es el noble clan de Esperanza Aguirre que tan poco le gusta a Pablo Iglesias". Vanitatis. El Confidencial.
  6. ^ Luna, José Antonio (17 August 2018). "En la movida madrileña había cierto elitismo, éramos un poco creídos".
  7. ^ "Esperanza Aguirre, la baronesa popular que hizo suya la Presidencia de Madrid". El Imparcial. 17 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Los idiomas, la eterna asignatura pendiente de los políticos de todos los partidos". 23 May 2009.
  9. ^ a b Ibáñez, Isabel (23 September 2012). "La 'tribu' de Aguirre". El Correo.
  10. ^ "Destinos para la funcionaria Aguirre". La Razón. 22 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Ficha Esperanza Aguirre" (in Spanish). ABC. 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Primeras páginas del libro [La Esfera de los Libros]". Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
  13. ^ a b Villalba, Enrique (29 April 2015). "Esperanza Aguirre, la concejala". Madridiario.
  14. ^ In the 2008 election, her party colleague Juan José Lucas gathered 1.68 million votes, but this only amounted to ~48.5% of the valid vote
  15. ^ "Aguirre, testigo de una cadena de atentados en Bombay que deja un centenar de muertos". RTVE. 26 November 2008.
  16. ^ "Aguirre dimite como presidenta del Gobierno de la Comunidad de Madrid". Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Esperanza Aguirre deja el gobierno de la Comunidad de Madrid". 17 September 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Esperanza Aguirre presidirá el consejo asesor de Seeliger y Conde,Catalunya". 14 January 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  19. ^ Martín Plaza, Ana (26 June 2015). "Aguirre ofrece al PSOE y Ciudadanos un pacto para que no gobierne Carmena, de Ahora Madrid".
  20. ^ Belver, Marta (25 August 2018). "Esperanza Aguirre mantiene su propuesta de pacto contra Carmena". El Mundo.
  21. ^ "Aguirre dimite y aumenta la presión sobre Rajoy por la corrupción | España | EL PAÍS Móvil". Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  22. ^ Domingo, Marta R. (28 April 2017). "Martínez-Almeida, el nuevo sucesor de Aguirre en Cibeles: "Mi objetivo es que Madrid olvide la pesadilla de Podemos"". ABC.
  23. ^ Bustamante, Elena (30 April 2019). "Esperanza Aguirre 'le pide' trabajo a Ana Rosa Quintana". El Español.
  24. ^ Pérez, Fernando J.; López-Fonseca, Óscar (2 August 2019). "Anticorrupción solicita imputar a Esperanza Aguirre y Cristina Cifuentes en el 'caso Púnica'". El País.
  25. ^ El juez imputa a Esperanza Aguirre por "fraguar" un plan para desviar dinero público al PP de Madrid desde 2004 (in Spanish)
  26. ^ Campos, Miguel Ángel (2 September 2019). "Esperanza Aguirre "ideó" la financiación ilegal del PP en Madrid". Cadena Ser.
  27. ^ Parera, Beatriz; Gabilondo, Pablo (2 September 2019). "Aguirre, Cifuentes e Indra, imputadas por financiación ilícita y desvío de dinero público". El Confidencial.
  28. ^ "Esperanza Aguirre y su marido, hospitalizados por Covid-19". 19 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  29. ^ "De cómo Zarzalejos fue 'ejecutado' por Esperanza Aguirre". El Siglo de Europa (808). 3 November 2008. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  30. ^ Colado, Sergio (17 April 2013). "Aguirre, entusiasmada en el funeral de Thatcher: "maravilloso", "admirable", "estaban todas las tendencias"..." El Plural.
  31. ^ Calleja, Ángel (24 April 2017). "Esperanza Aguirre: la 'Dama de Hierro' cañí quebrada por la corrupción de sus delfines".
  32. ^ Palacio Martín, Jorge del (26 April 2017). "Aguirre y el liberalismo paradójico". El Mundo.
  33. ^ Gracia, Ana I. (25 April 2017). "Pablo Casado, el favorito de Cristina Cifuentes para Madrid 2019". El Español.
  34. ^ Pardo, Javier (2 March 2019). "Yo a Madrid, tú a Valencia: la historia de Santi Abascal y Gotzone Mora". El Plural.
  35. ^ Caldentey, Diego (3 May 2016). "Esperanza Aguirre y Mariano Rajoy, una relación tan tensa como fría". El Independiente.
  36. ^ Valls, Fernando H. (3 May 2016). "Esperanza Aguirre pide que Rajoy y su equipo se vayan del PP antes del 26J". El Independiente.
  37. ^ "Real Decreto 119/1999, de 22 de enero, por el que se concede la Banda de Dama de la Real y Muy Distinguida Orden de Carlos III a doña Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma" [Royal Decree 119/1999, of January 22, by which the Dame Sash of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III is awarded to Mrs. Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma]. Spanish Official Journal. 23 January 1999. Retrieved 27 June 2020. According to the Order of May 8, 2000 adapting the Regulations of the Royal and Very Distinguished Order of Carlos III to the current circumstances and conditions, the degree of Lady's Band, granted prior to the entry into force of the This provision is equated to that of the Grand Cross.
  38. ^ "Real Decreto 132/2004, de 23 de enero, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica a doña Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma" [Royal Decree 132/2004, of January 23, by which the Great Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic is awarded to Mrs. Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma]. Spanish Official Journal. 13 April 2004. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  39. ^ "Real Decreto 896/2004, de 23 de abril, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil a doña Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma" [Royal Decree 896/2004, of April 23, by which the Great Cross of the Order of Civil Merit is awarded to Mrs. Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma]. Spanish Official Journal. 24 April 2004. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  40. ^ Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte: "Real Decreto 1116/2014, de 26 de diciembre, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden Civil de Alfonso X el Sabio a doña Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (313): 105931. 27 December 2014. ISSN 0212-033X.
  41. ^ "Boletín Oficial de la Comunidad de Madrid del 21 del septiembre de 2012" [Official Journal of the Community of Madrid of September 21, 2012.]. Community of Madrid (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  42. ^ [1] Archived 18 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine ARCHIVE date=20150924092343 Page 11 Foreign Ministry of Peru. Accessed 15 July 2015.
  43. ^ Torquemada, Blanca, «Damas y caballeros.». ABC de 1 February de 2004, p. 57. Accessed 22 December 2011.
  44. ^ Minute 1:17 [2] Telemadrid 29 April 2009. Accessed 18 March 2015.
  45. ^ Pascucci de Ponte, Enrico (16 April 2013). LAUDATIO A ESPERANZA AGUIRRE Y GIL DE BIEDMA Con ocasión de su investidura como Doctora Honoris Causa [LAUDATIO ESPERANZA AGUIRRE AND GIL DE BIEDMA On the occasion of her inauguration as Doctor Honoris Causa] (PDF) (in Spanish). Alfonso X El Sabio University.
Political offices
Preceded by
Luis María Huete
First Deputy Mayor of the City Council of Madrid
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Minister of Education Minister of Education and Culture
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Minister of Culture
Preceded by
Juan Ignacio Barrero
President of the Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Community of Madrid
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Luis María Huete
Leader of the People's Party Group in the City Council of Madrid
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Miguel Ángel Villanueva
Leader of the People's Party Group in the Assembly of Madrid
Succeeded by
Antonio Beteta
Preceded by President of the People's Party
of the Community of Madrid

Succeeded by
Cristina Cifuentes
(vacant until 2017)
Preceded by
Enrique Núñez
Spokesperson of the People's Group in the City Council of Madrid
Succeeded by