María Guardiola

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María Guardiola
Guardiola in 2023
President of Extremadura
Assumed office
14 July 2023
MonarchFelipe VI
Preceded byGuillermo Fernández Vara
Member of the Assembly of Extremadura
Assumed office
20 June 2023
Member of the Cáceres City Council
In office
13 June 2015 – 21 July 2022
Personal details
María Guardiola Martín

(1978-12-05) 5 December 1978 (age 45)
Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain
Political partyPP (since 2012)
Alma materUniversity of Extremadura

María Guardiola Martín (born 5 December 1978)[1] is a Spanish People's Party (PP) politician serving as the President of the Autonomous Government of Extremadura since 2023. After two decades as a civil servant within the Government of Extremadura, Guardiola was elected to the city council in her hometown of Cáceres in 2015.

Guardiola resigned from her city council seat in 2022 when she was elected leader of the People's Party of Extremadura, the first woman to lead one of Extremadura's two main parties. As its lead candidate in the 2023 Extremaduran regional election, Guardiola's party won an equal number of seats to the incumbent Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). After at first refusing due to ideological differences, she formed a coalition government with Vox in which she would be president.


Early life and local politics[edit]

Guardiola was born in Cáceres, Extremadura. When she was three years old, her father abandoned the household. She, her mother and her brother moved into her grandparents' house for financial reasons; she has two younger half-sisters from her mother's second marriage. She idolised Mother Teresa as a child. As of 2023, she is married and has a daughter and a son.[2]

Guardiola graduated in Business Administration and Management, and Business Sciences, both from the University of Extremadura. She then worked for over two decades as a civil servant within the Government of Extremadura.[1] A member of the People's Party (PP), she was elected to her hometown's city hall in 2015, serving as the councillor in charge of the economy under mayor Elena Nevado. She won a second term in 2019, though her party lost control, and remained there until her resignation in July 2022.[3]

Election as regional party leader[edit]

In 2022, Guardiola was the only candidate who received the necessary signatures to run for the leadership of the People's Party of Extremadura, replacing José Antonio Monago who had held the role since 2008.[4] Her only previous experience in elected office was in her hometown's city council, where the PP was in opposition, and she became the first woman to lead one of the region's two major parties.[5] She was chosen by national party leader Pablo Casado as part of a trend of the party selecting municipal politicians for regional candidacies, and the party endorsement was carried over by Casado's successor Alberto Núñez Feijóo.[6] Fernando Pizarro, the three-term mayor of Plasencia – the fourth largest city in the region – ran a grassroots campaign but withdrew with a week remaining to focus on re-election, leaving Guardiola as the only candidate.[5][6]

President of Extremadura[edit]

In the 2023 Extremaduran regional election, the governing Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the PP drew with 28 seats each, though the former had more votes. Guardiola began negotiating with the five deputies of Vox to form a majority government.[7] Her actions went against the instructions of Feijóo, who demanded that all assemblies and councils be run by the most voted party, instead of what he called a "pact of losers"; this was in reference to the PSOE forming governments with minor left-wing and nationalist parties.[8] Guardiola initially rejected a pact with Vox, due to their positions on gender-related violence, immigration and LGBT rights, and supported standing in a re-run election. On 30 June, she formed a pact in which she would be President of the Regional Government of Extremadura and Vox would run the Ministry of Rural Affairs;[9] she was invested on 14 July with the votes of the PP and Vox.[10] During the disagreements between the two parties, the PSOE candidate Blanca Martín was re-elected President of the Assembly, the position of speaker.[11]

Political views[edit]

Guardiola has been likened to Isabel Díaz Ayuso, another PP member who was relatively unknown when selected by the party as a regional candidate, and who was elected President of the Community of Madrid.[6][12] Guardiola dismissed the comparisons.[13][14] In June 2023, between Guardiola's refusal to form a pact with Vox and the pact being formed, Mayte Alcaraz of El Debate likened Guardiola to Ayuso for refusing to form a coalition but also Andalusia president Juanma Moreno and former Castilla–La Mancha president Cristina Cifuentes for espousing centrism.[15]

In September 2022, Guardiola received attention for applauding a campaign by the Ministry of Equality led by Podemos politician Irene Montero, which aimed to create "hombres blandengues", men who would take tasks and characteristics not associated with traditional gender roles.[16] Two months later, she called on Montero to resign for accusing the PP of rape culture, which Guardiola considered the "gravest and repugnant" example of "political violence"; Guardiola defined herself as a feminist who aims to unite and not divide.[17]


  1. ^ a b Apolo, Carmen (10 June 2022). "María Guardiola anuncia su candidatura a presidir el PP de Extremadura". El Economista (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  2. ^ Godino, Patricia (23 June 2023). "María Guardiola, hija de padre ausente y criada en un matriarcado: así es la nueva estrella del PP que no quiere a su lado a Vox" [María Guardiola, daughter of an absent father and raised in a matriarchy: this is the new star of the PP who does not want Vox by her side]. Vanity Fair (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 July 2023.
  3. ^ Núñez, Manuel M. (19 July 2022). "María Guardiola dimite como concejala del PP en Cáceres y deja su puesto a Marisa Caldera" [María Guardiola resigns as PP councillor in Cáceres and leaves her seat to Marisa Caldera]. Hoy (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  4. ^ "María Guardiola, proclamada candidata única a la presidencia del PP Extremadura" [María Guardiola, proclaimed sole candidate for the presidency of the Extremadura PP]. (in Spanish). 18 June 2022. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  5. ^ a b "María Guardiola, nueva presidenta del PP de Extremadura con el apoyo del 97,7% de votos" [María Guardiola, new president of the Extremadura PP with the support of 97.7% of the votes] (in Spanish). The Objective. 16 July 2022. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Rodríguez, Antonio (4 June 2022). "Feijóo apuesta por una 'nueva Ayuso' para liderar el PP en Extremadura" [Feijóo bets on a 'new Ayuso' to lead the PP in Extremadura] (in Spanish). The Objective. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  7. ^ "Guardiola urge a Vox a comenzar a negociar en Extremadura el cambio de gobierno" [Guardiola urges Vox to start to negotiate a change of government in Extremadura] (in Spanish). Onda Cero. 5 June 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  8. ^ "Guardiola desoye a Feijoo [sic] y exige a Vox que apoye al PP en Extremadura" [Guardiola ignores Feijóo and calls for Vox to support the PP in Extremadura]. La Voz de Galicia (in Spanish). 3 June 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  9. ^ Jones, Sam (30 June 2023). "Spain's People's party and Vox agree to jointly govern Extremadura". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  10. ^ Marín, Pedro (14 July 2023). "María Guardiola es investida presidenta en Extremadura con los votos de PP y Vox" [María Guardiola is invested president in Extremadura with the votes of the PP and Vox]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). Europa Press. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  11. ^ "La socialista Blanca Martín, presidenta de la Asamblea de Extremadura tras no haber acuerdo entre PP y Vox" [Socialist Blanca Martín, president of the Assembly of Extremadura due to PP and Vox not forming pact] (in Spanish). RTVE. 20 June 2023. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  12. ^ "María Guardiola, la 'Ayuso extremeña' que quiere hacer una "revolución fiscal" en Extremadura" [María Guardiola, the 'Extremadura Ayuso' who wants to pull off a "fiscal revolution" in Extremadura] (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. 15 August 2022. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  13. ^ Calleja, Mariano (22 August 2022). "María Guardiola: «No me parezco a Ayuso, quiero ser la María de Extremadura»" [María Guardiola: "I'm not like Ayuso, I want to be Extremadura's María"]. ABC (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  14. ^ Vigario, David (16 July 2022). "María Guardiola, de repartir guías telefónicas a ser la baronesa del PP extremeño: "Ni Ayuso ni Juanma Moreno: yo"" [María Guardiola, from giving out telephone guides to being the leader of the Extremaduran PP: "Neither Ayuso nor Juanma Moreno: I'm me"]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  15. ^ Alcaraz, Mayte (22 June 2023). "María Guardiola: mitad Ayuso, mitad Juanma" [María Guardiola: half Ayuso, half Juanma]. El Debate (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 July 2023.
  16. ^ Machuca, Pablo (9 September 2022). "No se suele ver: una candidata del PP aplaude esta campaña del Ministerio de Igualdad" [You don't see this very often: a PP candidate applauds this campaign by the Ministry of Equality]. HuffPost (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Guardiola afirma que Irene Montero ha cometido el "mayor y repugnante" ejemplo de esa "violencia política" que denuncia" [Guardiola affirms that Irene Montero has committed the "gravest and repugnant" example of that "political violence" that she denounces] (in Spanish). Canal Extremadura. 30 November 2022. Retrieved 22 July 2023.