Jump to content

Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría
Deputy Prime Minister of Spain
In office
21 December 2011 – 7 June 2018
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byElena Salgado
Succeeded byCarmen Calvo
Minister for Territorial Administrations
In office
3 November 2016 – 7 June 2018
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byCristóbal Montoro
Public Administrations
Succeeded byMeritxell Batet
Territorial Policy and Civil Service
Minister of the Presidency
In office
21 December 2011 – 7 June 2018
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byRamón Jáuregui
Succeeded byCarmen Calvo
Spokesperson of the Government
In office
21 December 2011 – 3 November 2016
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byJosé Blanco López
Succeeded byÍñigo Méndez de Vigo
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
13 May 2004 – 10 September 2018
Personal details
María Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría Antón

(1971-06-10) 10 June 1971 (age 53)
Valladolid, Spain
Political partyPeople's Party
SpouseIván Rosa (2006–present)
EducationUniversity of Valladolid
OccupationPolitician, state lawyer

María Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría Antón (born 10 June 1971) is a Spanish former politician of the People's Party who served as Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of the Presidency from 2011 to 2018. She was member of the Congress of Deputies representing Madrid from 2004 until 2018.


Education and early life[edit]

Born in Valladolid in 1971, Sáenz de Santamaría grew up as the only child of Pedro Sáenz de Santamaría and Petra Antón.[1]

She studied the Licentiate Degree in Law in the University of Valladolid (1989–1994) and got a first class honours degree, summa cum laude, achieving rank one in her promotion, first of her class, awarded top honors, with an academic record full of honours-qualifications, awarded the Bachelor's Degree Extraordinary Award conferred by the University of Valladolid, for her outstanding academic record.[2]

After passing a "competitive public examination" (oposiciones), she joined the State Lawyers Corps (an elite body of civil servant lawyers of the State).

In 2005 Sáenz de Santamaría married José Iván Rosa Vallejo,[3] with whom she has a son, born on 11 November 2011.[4]

Start of political career[edit]

Sáenz de Santamaría in November 2011 during a campaign event at Alcalá de Henares

In 2000, Mariano Rajoy's former chief of staff hired her to work as advisor to the cabinet of the First Vice-president of the Government in the Ministry of the Presidency and the Ministry of Home Affairs.[5]

From 2004 to 2008 Sáenz de Santamaría, served as secretary in the People's Party (PP) executive board, charged with the party's Regional and Local Policy.

She ran as candidate to the Congress of Deputies, 19th in the PP list for Madrid vis-à-vis the April 2004 general election.[6] As the PP obtained 17 seats in the constituency, she was not elected, but she assumed the office of deputy in the Lower House on 13 May 2004, covering the vacant seat caused by the resignation of Rodrigo Rato, who had been appointed as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.[7] She served as legislator for the rest of the 8th term of the Cortes Generales.

In the 9th term, she was chosen by Mariano Rajoy to become the Spokesperson for the People's Group in the Congress of Deputies, replacing Eduardo Zaplana.

Right hand of Rajoy at the Government[edit]

Sáenz de Santamaría delivering a press conference at La Moncloa in May 2012, following a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Following the results of the 2011 general election, which delivered an absolute majority to the PP in the Congress of Deputies, Mariano Rajoy was invested Prime Minister and formed a new cabinet. Sáenz de Santamaría became the Deputy Prime Minister and Spokesperson for the government on 22 December 2011.[8]

Sáenz de Santamaría served in the Rajoy Government as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidency from December 2011 to June 2018, as Spokesperson of the Government from 2011 to 2016, and as Minister for Territorial Administrations from November 2016 to June 2018. In 2014, for a brief time, she also assumed in acting capacity the portfolios of Health and Justice.

On 27 October 2017, after Mariano Rajoy enforced the Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution on the Catalan government, dismissing regional premier Carles Puigdemont, Sáenz de Santamaría was entrusted with the responsibility for overseeing the functions of the Generalitat of Catalonia.[9][10]

Failed bid for party leadership[edit]

Wordmark used for her bid to party leadership

On 5 June 2018, after the successful motion of no confidence in Mariano Rajoy, and Rajoy's removal from the post of Prime Minister and his decision to also resign as leader of the People's Party, Sáenz de Santamaría postulated herself as candidate in the upcoming primaries to elect a new party leader. Soraya Saénz de Santamaría edged the 1st position in the voting held among party members with a narrow margin of 1,500 votes over Pablo Casado, with otherwise staunch rival María Dolores de Cospedal coming third. On 21 July 2018, a run-off (now voted among party delegates) between the first and second candidates in the first round was held between her and Casado. Sáenz de Santamaría lost to Casado, who became the new party leader,[11] in what was considered a party swing towards the right.[12][13][14][15] Some months following her defeat, in September 2018, Sáenz de Santamaría announced that she was leaving politics after 18 years.[16][17]

Later activity[edit]

On 18 October 2018 she was appointed member of the Council of State, the supreme consultative body for the Spanish Government,[18] assuming office on 8 November 2018.[19] In March 2019, the incorporation of Sáenz de Santamaría to the Cuatrecasas law firm (both as associate and as member of the board of directors) was announced.[20]

Positions and ideology[edit]

Saenz de Santamaría, called by many media as "the most powerful woman in Spain since (the return of) democracy",[21][22][23][24][25][26] has been often considered to espouse a technocratic form of governance, without a clearly defined ideology.[27] Distanced from the party executive board except for her spell at the helm of the area of Regional and Local Policy, it has been pointed out she built her political leadership outside from the party rather than from the inside.[28] She was regarded as the theoretical representative of the most moderate wing within the PP.[29]


  1. ^ "Volver a Valladolid es volver a la vida de verdad" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 25 April 2011.
  2. ^ Barca, Antonio Jiménez (5 April 2008). "Lista para la batalla". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Santamaría, cuestionada como pregonera por su 'situación matrimonial'". El Mundo. Valladolid. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  4. ^ Govan, Fiona (25 November 2011). "Spanish MP with key role back to work 11 days after giving birth". The Daily Telegraph. Madrid. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  5. ^ David Román (28 January 2016), No problem has been too large or lethal for Rajoy’s deputy Financial Times.
  6. ^ Juntas Electorales Proviciales: "Candidaturas proclamadas para las elecciones al Congreso de los Diputados y al Senado, convocadas por Real Decreto 100/2004, de 19 de enero" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (41). 17 February 2004. ISSN 0212-033X.
  7. ^ "Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría: la mano derecha". Cinco Días. 21 December 2011.
  8. ^ Giles, Ciaran (21 December 2011). "Spain's new prime minister sworn in, names Cabinet". Deseret News. Associated Press. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría – Madrid's enforcer for Catalonia". BBC News. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  10. ^ Mansfield, Katie (28 October 2017). "Spain takes charge of Catalonia- Deputy PM handed CONTROL of region amid fears of violence". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Resultados definitivos primarias PP" (PDF). La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 5 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  12. ^ Junquera, Natalia (21 July 2018). "Pablo Casado vence en el congreso del PP y consuma el giro a la derecha". El País.
  13. ^ Jones, Sam (22 July 2018). "Spanish People's party shifts to right with new leader". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Spain's conservatives swing to the right with new leader". Reuters. 21 July 2018.
  15. ^ "La prensa global señala el giro a la derecha del PP con Casado, un "conservador de línea dura"". Radiocable. 23 July 2018.
  16. ^ Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría comunica a Pablo Casado que deja la política para "emprender otra etapa" (in Spanish)
  17. ^ Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría deja la política (in Spanish)
  18. ^ El Gobierno nombra consejera de Estado a Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (in Spanish)
  19. ^ Santamaría entra en el Consejo de Estado: «Es bueno seguir prestando este servicio al Estado» (in Spanish)
  20. ^ "El bufete de abogados Cuatrecasas ficha a Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría". El País. 11 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Spain's new deputy prime minister 'most powerful woman since democracy'". telegraph.co.uk. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  22. ^ "5 of Europe's most powerful women". USA Today. 9 March 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  23. ^ "'Most powerful woman since democracy' put in charge of Catalonia in defiance of independence". Business Insider. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Are these Spain's ten most powerful women?". The Local. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Soraya Saenz de Santamaria: The Most Powerful Woman in Spain". International Business Times. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  26. ^ "Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría – Madrid's enforcer for Catalonia". BBC. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  27. ^ "¿Liberal? ¿Democristiano? Quién es quién en la batalla por el poder en el PP". El Boletín. 19 June 2018.
  28. ^ Carpio, José A. (19 July 2018). "Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, la copiloto de Rajoy en Moncloa pide ponerse a los mandos del PP". RTVE.
  29. ^ Cué, Carlos E. (20 December 2013). "Rajoy tomó la decisión final tras meses de debate interno y tensión en el PP". El País.
Party political offices
Preceded by Spokesperson of the People's Party Parliamentary Group in the Congress of Deputies
31 March 2008 – 13 December 2011
Succeeded by