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José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

Spanish politician (Valladolid, 1960). A law graduate from Universidad de León. He taught Constitutional Law at Universidad de León. He became a party member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in 1979, and as from 1982 he held positions of responsibility within the party, including as Secretary of the Young Socialists of Leon and was elected General Secretary of the Socialist Federation of Leon in 1988. He became a Member of the Lower House of Parliament in 1986 and was PSOE Spokesperson as from 1996 on the Public Administration Committee of the Lower House.

In 2000, he was elected General Secretary of the PSOE at the 35th Party Congress. On 14 March 2004, the PSOE won the general elections and he became the fifth President of the Government under democracy. He formed the first government with an equal number of men and women in the history of Spain and, among the measures adopted under his first mandate, noteworthy is his withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the promulgation of the Gender-based Violence Act, the Equality Act, the HistorIical Memory Act, the Dependency Act and the possibility for people of the same sex to marry. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero also proposed the international initiative known as the Alliance of Civilisations, which was adopted as an official United Nations programme in April 2007.

In March 2008, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero began his second term of office. During this mandate, an agreement was reached on regional financing, approved by the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council, on which all regional governments are represented, and did away with advertising on RTVE [Spanish radio and television broadcaster], to strengthen its position as a public service. Also noteworthy is the Draft Bill on the Sustainable Economy, which seeks to lay the foundations to renew the Spanish productive model within the framework of the toughest international economic crisis of recent times. During the course of the legislature, in the first half of 2010, Spain held the Rotating Presidency of the European Union for the fourth time.