Adolfo Suárez, a legacy of extraordinary courage

Adolfo Suárez has been and continues to be an inspiration for the Club de Madrid. Our organization formed as a result of the Conference on Democratic Transition and Consolidation celebrated in Madrid in 2001, a milestone in which 35 heads and ex-heads of state and government from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa agreed to establish an institution whose primary mission would be to strengthen democracy throughout the world. Since then, the Club de Madrid has looked to Spain’s democratic transition as one of the greatest examples of a successful, peaceful process of democratization.

Adolfo Suárez was the key architect of this transition, coordinating the political and institutional reforms necessary to form a democratic system of government in a country that saw nearly forty years of dictatorship. As the first President of the Spanish democracy he governed through dialogue and negotiation, prioritizing constitutional agreement and pacts—the Moncloa Pacts— in governance of the new democracy in moments of extreme political turbulence and economic crisis. And it is now, in these difficult moments in which we find democracy under pressure in many countries, its quality and effectiveness in doubt, that we must keep in mind the work of this great politician and his vision for democratic development in Spain.

The most meaningful homage we can pay to President Adolfo Suárez is to continue working toward effective democracies, drawing inspiration from his strong leadership founded on dialogue and cooperation, and the dignity of his ideals and actions. With profound sadness, yet comforted by his admirable example, we bid farewell with remarkable gratitude to the man that left us to follow in his extraordinary legacy of courage.