José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

Spanish politician and member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)
(Redirected from Zapatero)

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (born 4 August, 1960) was the President of the Government (Prime Minister) of Spain from 2004 to 2011. He the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), to victory in the the general election on March 14, 2004 and a subsequent victory in 2008. He was replaced as leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) by w:Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba on 4 February 2012.



As Opposition Leader


As President



  • "I don't want to be a great leader. I would rather be a good democrat."
  • "Gender equality is more successful than armed force"
    • Interview with "Time" Magazine, September 22th, 2004


  • "If we live together, together we must decide."
    • Note: Start of an speech in the Congress of Deputies against Ibarretxe's plan. February 1st, 2005
  • "Castilian Spanish speaking Spain is big, but is bigger in addition with Catalonian speaking Spain, Galician speaking Spain and Basque speaking Spain. Democratic Spain, Constitutional Spain, can not be separated from diversity and the respect to the citizenship"
    • Note: Speech in the French National Assembly. March, 2005
  • "How can a governing party propose to its people a referendum that won't be binding? Is that a serious political programme? No it is not. It's the final option that will end up with upset, at a dead end, reflecting the last 4 years of the Ibarretxe Plan"
    • Note: April 2005, regarding Juan José Ibarretxe's plan to propose a referendum regarding whether to approve his plan to reform the aunomomy of the Basque Country.
    • Source: El Correo, Saturday 9th April 2005, p. 23
  • "My grandfather asked in his will that whenever it became possible, his name should be cleared so that he would no longer be denounced as a 'traitor to patriotism'. My grandfather has had a great effect on me during my life."
"The transition to democracy was based on a base of harmony and little remembrance." (It was good that the Transition) "[...] was like that, because at the time the wounds were still open. That problem affected an entire generation of Spaniards. However, the generation that I come from is drawn to politics in a context of democracy and liberty, and now it's only fair that the sacrifices that many people made are recognised and that people know exactly what happened to their relatives, because it's their right [...] this right doesn't involve looking back with a grudge, but completely the opposite: it means looking back with serenity, to find out the truth [...] it means building a stronger country, a country that can look at all of its citizens with absolute serenity, so that they feel recognised in our project of contemporary democracy".
    • Interview in 2005 in the book "Zapatero and the Citizens' World" by Calamai and Garzia.
  • "I am highly at ease and calm because we have a fairly republican king."
"For me, a republican is someone who defends public institutions and democratic values, someone who is a defender of public life, someone who repsects the principles of liberty, so in that sense we are very calm and at ease."
    • Note: 14th April 2005, during a commemoration to the Second Republic.

Libertad Digital: Zapatero dice que está "muy a gusto y muy tranquilo" porque "tenemos un Rey bastante republicano" (Spanish)

  • "Less smoking and more reading."
    • Note: 23rd April 2005.
  • "Discouraging smoking and drinking is a left ideal."
    • 3rd September 2005, in a meeting of the PSOE federal committee whilst tabling a motion to increase tax on alcohol and cigarettes to finance health spending.
    • Source: (Spanish)
  • "Reachable goals are worth the struggle." (30th Nov., 2005)
  • "The strength of a culture depends on its capacity to open itself up to other cultures, to integrate itself into them and to integrate them into it. It doesn't matter how many differences there may be, Habermas pointed out, everyone shares some principles. No culture tolerates the exploitation of human beings. No religion permits the murder of innocent people. No civilisation accepts violence or terror."
"Peace is not a natural state of man, as the great pacifist Gandhi told us. But man can create it. If we have broken down walls that seemed unbreakable, we will not passively agree that more profound differences should their place."
  • "We are the envy of Europe and in a few years time we are going to be one of the top countries in the world."
    • Nota: 19th Dec. 2005


  • "The Spain of today looks at the Second Republic with great appreciation and above all with satisfaction and pride for what we have been able to do in this constitutional age".
    • Congress of Deputies, 1st May 2006
  • "Peace needs and takes time, it needs and takes caution, it needs and takes patience after 30 years of terrorism and violence."
  • "Today things are better than a year ago. But within a year things will be even better."
  • "Given that a few days ago we had a terrible accident, a tragic terrorist attack in Barajas, in Madrid, I would like to propose to you that we show our complete condemnation, our most intense revulsion, and that we show profound solidarity with the victims."
    • Note: In reference to the ETA bombing at Madrid airport, El Confidencial (Spanish). That same day, Zapatero said that calling the attack an 'accident' had been a slip of the tongue, but it was seized by the press and provoked anger, for example the slogan "Killing people is not an accident" used in the protests of March, 2007.


  • The US doesn't understand South America."
"The longer they put off admitting defeat and crticising themselves, the longer it will take for them to earn the confidence of their citizens."
"If there is corruption, it's because the political parties are weak."
  • "Every time a teacher leaves her classroom in Paris to put up osters of Ségolène France is illuminated."
  • "Ségolène represents personal energy, good spirits and optimism, the determination to preside, the vocation to get things done instead of talking about it; as we have done in Spain."
  • "Today, the grandeur of a country is measured by the extent to which it defends and extends its citizens' rights through its impulse towards total equality, by its capacity to create energy that contributes towards cultural, social and economic growth. That is how a country becomes strong, by making its citizens more powerful."
  • Note: In a meeting of the French Socialist Party in Toulouse at the end of the electoral campaign for the first round of presidential voting, to help Ségolène Royal, 19th April 2007.
  • Source: La Rioja (Spanish).
  • "During the next legislature, we will aim for full employment in Spain."
    • Debate on the State of the Nation, 3rd July 2007
    • Source: [2]
  • "There isn't any wall, however high, however wide or however big, whatever it is made from, that can bar you from achieving a better life. There isn't any wall or pit that is in front of you to stop you from achieving a future of wellbeing."
  • "The PP has spent 3 years thinking about the election (in 2008), but I think that one has to give them some advice: to prepare themselves to carry on thinking, but about the election in 2012."
    • Meeting on the 14th August 2007 in Jerez, predicting another PSOE victory in the 2008 elections.
    • Source:ABC


  • "In democracy, nobody is above anybody else apart from he who is elected by the people."
    • 24th Feb. 2008
  • "Goodnight, and good luck."
    • Closing remark to the Presidential debate with Mariano Rajoy in the 2008 election campaign.
  • "I think that it would do us good to have some tension [...]. From this weekend, I'm going to start to overdramatise things a little."
  • "Although the recession is strong and although hard times await us in the next 2 or 3 months, Spain will continue to grow in the second quarter of 2009."
  • "I'm not the right person to talk about this. It doesn't seem right to me (the price paid by Real Madrid for footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, but I understand the social significance of football."
  • "It's likely that the worst of the economic crisis is behind us."
    • 29th April 2009
    • Source:[3]
  • "The Spanish economy is not going to return to growth immediately."
  • "The earth belongs to nobody except the wind."
    • At the 15th Climate Change Summit, Copenhagen, 17th December 2009.
    • Source:[4]
  • "We must have a distinct vision of what employment and unemployment are. A person who is training or educating themselves is working for their country. That is what we have discovered in this recession, that training, education and innovation are fundamental.", Oslo Forum, September 2010.
  • "The photo is the most important thing."
    • Interview with Mohamed VI in the headquarters of the UN, September 2010.
    • Source: [5]

Quotes about