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Felipe González Márquez

González Márquez, Felipe (fəlēˈpā gōnthäˈlĕth) [key], 1942–, Spanish political leader. After joining (1962) what was then the Spanish Socialist Workers' party, González became (1974) its secretary-general and revived it from the moribund position into which it had fallen under Franco. In 1979 the party officially abandoned Marxism. González led the Socialists to a landslide victory in the 1982 parliamentary elections and became premier of Spain's first leftist government since the Spanish civil war. The Socialists were returned to power in 1986, 1989, and, as a minority government, 1993. González led social-democratic government that presided over a decade of impressive economic growth in Spain, and in 1986 he led Spain into the European Community (now the European Union). Another notable achievement was domestication of the armed forces after the failed coup attempt of 1981. In the 1990s, however, González's government was beset by various scandals and an increasing loss of public confidence. After a narrow victory in the 1993 elections he and his party lost the election of 1996 to the Popular party, and its head, José María Aznar, became prime minister. He resigned as Socialist party leader in 1997, and retired from the Cortes in 2004. In 1997 several members of his government in the 1980s, including the former interior minister, were convicted of engaging in a "dirty war" against Basque terrorists; González has denied any knowledge of their actions. In 2007 he was chosen to head an official panel to examine the future of the European Union.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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