Spain: Leaders bid farewell to former Prime Minister

Yesterday (Monday) international dignitaries crowded into Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral to honour Adolfo Suarez, the man who succeeded in leading Spain to democracy following the Franco dictatorship.


Spain’s royal family were joined by foreign government officials and ministers who arrived at the cathedral along with members of the public to bid a final farewell to Adolfo Suarez, who died on March 23, at the age of 81.

Suarez, Spain’s first elected leader after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, was admitted to hospital in Madrid on March 17 with pneumonia. The former PM, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s for the past decade, died there a week later.

Suarez was buried two days later in the cathedral of Avila, his home town, after his coffin was carried through the streets of Madrid.

However, yesterday’s solemn state funeral was the day of full state honours for the man responsible for Spain’s transition to become a democratic country. Suarez also oversaw the establishment of the country’s constitution in 1978.  

Spain’s King Juan Carlos, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and countless others arrived at the gates of the grey stone cathedral, which was surrounded by hundreds of onlookers.

Overseas mourners included the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a US delegation including United States Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.

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