José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,
Prime Minister of Spain
Born in 1960 in Valladolid, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero graduated in Law at the University of León and began his career as a lecturer in Constitutional Law at the same University.
He became a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in 1979 after hearing Felipe Gonzalez speak at a political rally. Zapatero became General Secretary of the Socialist Federation of León and later served on the PSOE Federal Committee.
In 1986 he was elected Member of Parliament for León, as one of Spain's youngest MPs ever (just 26). He was re-elected to Parliament in 1989, 1993, 1996 and 2000, and was elected General Secretary of the PSOE in July 2000. Three years later, in 2003, Zapatero was elected Vice-President of the Socialist International during the XXII Congress of the Socialist International in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In March 2004, Zapatero led the PSOE party to victory in the Spanish elections, and in April, he was elected President. For the first time ever in democratic Spanish politics, all opposition parties except for one (PP) voted in favour of the winning party's candidate for the presidency of Spain.