Who runs Spain: Top 20 most powerful people

18th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo's "Most Powerful Spaniards" list gives an insight into the country in which you live. Here we reprint the top 20 movers and shakers.

  1. Jose Luis Rodriguz Zapatero

    Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spanish prime minister
    Critics cannot work out if he has astute political foresight or has just been lucky. But half-way through his term, 2006 will be a crunch year for Zapatero.
    Last year: no1


  2. Mariano Rajoy

    Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Opposition, president of the Popular Party.
    He survived a helicopter crash last month, a fact commentators have taken to signify the start of a new beginning for the man so long in former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's shadow.
    Last year: no2

  3. Emilio Botin

    Emilio Botin, president of Grupo Santander.
    Spain's richest banker, the head of Santander who bought Abbey National, and seems to collect new companies. At 71, he does not plan to retire until 75, so plenty of life in him.
    Last year: no5

  4. Jose Luis Carod Rovira

    Josep Carod Rovira, president Esquerra Republicana, Catalan nationalist party.
    Unlikely choice at No4 as he got the vote of only 500,000 people, but he plays a crucial role as Zapatero's minority government depends on him and he is a power broker over the Catalan autonomy bid.
    Last year: No 19.
  5. Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, deputy prime minister.
    She has had to do all the unpleasant jobs as Zapatero's No2, like dealing with the death of  firefighters in Guadalajara and storm victims in the Canary Islands. A trusted lieutenant.
    Last year: No3
  6. Jesus Polanco, president of Prisa Group, owners of El Pais newspaper, Cadena Ser radio station among other interests.
    Polanco's links to the Socialist Party helped speed the arrival of digital TV, of which Prisa is a major player. Set to double his money in 2006 in terms of earnings.
    Last year: No 6
  7. Jose Bono, defence minister.
    The most popular government minister, according to polls, as he connects with the man in the street. The defence minister is also the only high-level devout Catholic in a party which has been at loggerheads with the Church.
    Last year: No11
  8. Perez Rubalcaba, Socialist Party spokesman in Congress.
    Highly intelligent, a great orator in parliament but also said to be the arch Maciavellian operator. His post is closest to the Chief Whip in the British House of Commons.
    Last year: No12
  9. Pedro Solbes, minister of economy and treasury.
    The real power behind the government as he is the minister who holds the purse strings. Said to have consolidated his position in the party and to have won support for his budgets.
    Last year: No7
  10. Pedro J Ramirez, editor of the Spanish daily El Mundo.
    This list was put together by the paper which Ramirez, an arch self-publicist, edits. That said, this acclaimed journalist also likes to mix in conservative political circles and has influence. His paper meanwhile is putting on readers, although figures are disputed by rivals.
    Last year: No15
  11. Ana Patricia Botin

    Ana Patricia Botin, president of Banco Banesto.
    Daughter of Emilio Botin and heir apparent to Banco Santander, Ana Patricia is the most powerful non-political woman in Spain – and possibly the richest. Voted European Business Woman of the Year in 2005 by the Financial Times.
    Last year: No18
  12. Florentino Perez

    Florentino Perez, president of ACS and Real Madrid.
    Best known for heading Los blancos,  he has made the club a world brand. That said, last season was a disaster on and off the pitch, with sworn rivals FC Barcelona walking away with the honours. T

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