José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Prime Minister of Spain
I think if there’s one thing that contemporary democracy needs it is the restoration of trust between those in power and the people.
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been the only Prime Minister during the Spanish democracy who has gained the support of more than eleven million votes. He won the Spanish elections for two consecutive terms (2004 and 2008). His political measures focused on the development of an extensive programme based on the egalitarian and universal extension of civil rights through pioneering laws and reforms.
His act against Domestic Violence stands out as a comprehensive, new regulatory instrument which has served as a model for other countries to address the struggle for real equality between women and men. He is also renowned for the Equality Act, which includes the introduction of a paternity leave, an extension of maternity leave and establishing parity as a rule for lists of candidates. Among other laws he intended to boost civil rights and equal opportunities; he inspired the act that made same sex marriage possible.
He also drove forward the creation of the Dependent Care Act which assures that those who need the assistance of others at all times receive state help. His government was able to increase the minimum pensions and the number of scholarships.
Another example of Mr. Zapatero´s important, reformist and modernizing impulse was his concern for developing politics to boost R+D+I, sustainable development and clean energy solutions.
A cornerstone during his terms of office was that of analysing the future of Europe within the framework of a devastating global crisis. He strengthened Spanish presence in Europe and Latin America. Nevertheless, he did not forget about the importance of relations with emerging powers like China and areas historically linked to Spain such as the countries in the northern region of Africa. A key event in the international arena was the creation, along with the Turkish Government, of the Alliance of Civilisations. He posed strong skills in networking and advocacy for pursuing the strategic and long-term objectives, seizing opportunities in a stealth manner to intermediate or to build strategic alliances. He achieved the Permanent Guest Status for Spain in the G-20, he is the international mediator in the Venezuelan national crisis and he is familiar with the V2030 and Principal’s perspectives.
Currently Rodríguez Zapatero is the President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy Advisory Board. The Economist included him in the first ever Top50 Global Diversity List.
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Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of the USSR (1988-1991)