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Fernando de Santiago y Díaz

Fernando de Santiago y Díaz de Mendívil (July 23, 1910 – November 6, 1994) was a conservative deputy and interim prime minister of Spain during the Spanish transition to democracy in the late 1970s. He had earlier been a general in the Spanish Civil War and under the Spanish State of Caudillo Francisco Franco.

Fernando de Santiago
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
July 1, 1976 – July 3, 1976
MonarchJuan Carlos I
Vice PresidentJuan-Miguel Villar Mir
Preceded byCarlos Arias Navarro
Succeeded byAdolfo Suárez
Governor-General of the Spanish Sahara
In office
March 4, 1971 – April 24, 1974
Preceded byJosé María Pérez de Lerma
Succeeded byFederico Gómez de Salazar
Personal details
Fernando de Santiago y Díaz de Mendívil

(1910-07-23)July 23, 1910
Madrid, Spain
DiedNovember 6, 1994(1994-11-06) (aged 84)
Madrid, Spain
Political partyFalange (1936-1980)
Movimiento Nacional
Spouse(s)San Fermín de los Navarros
Military service
RankLieutenant general
CommandsSuperior Polytechnic Army College

As an active soldier, Santiago participated in the Second Moroccan War in the 1920s and threw in with the Spanish Nationalists in the 1936 Civil War, rising to the rank of lieutenant general. In Francoist Spain, he served as a professor and later director of the Escuela Politécnica Superior del Ejército (Superior Polytechnic Army College).

In the waning years of Franco's rule, from March 4, 1971 to April 24, 1974, the caudillo gave Santiago a task as political as it was military: serve as governor-general of Spanish Sahara after Spanish forces had massacred members of a native independence movement in the "Zemla Intifada". Santiago presided over the introduction of limited home-rule in the region, which was eventually decolonized a few years later.

Following Franco's death, November 20, 1975, Santiago was named Vicepresidente del Gobierno para la Defensa (deputy prime minister for defense) of Spain's first post-Franco government, under Prime Minister Carlos Arias Navarro. Following Arias' resignation, Santiago briefly served as interim prime minister, July 1-July 3, 1976.[1]

Under the administration of Adolfo Suárez, Santiago remained the principal deputy prime minister but gave up oversight of the defense ministry.[1] While Arias Navarro had been considered a Francoist, Suárez would turn out to be a reformer, putting Spain on the road to democracy. Santiago would become a harsh critic of Suárez' government. He submitted a resignation letter shortly after Suárez announced he would support the Ley para la Reforma Political (Political Reform Law) and its call for open elections; his resignation was accepted September 21, 1976.

Out of office, Santiago continued to meet with conservative military officials disturbed by Spain's democratization and liberalization. In September 1977, he met with a group of army leaders—including Jaime Milans del Bosch—who secretly wrote a letter to King Juan Carlos I asking him to undertake "actions to rescue the destiny of the Fatherland". Bosch would later be implicated in the "23-F" coup attempt, February 23, 1981.

He married at San Fermín de los Navarros in Madrid on 6 January 1934 María Ignacia Morales de Los Ríos y Palacio, daughter of Santiago Morales de Los Ríos y Chávarri (b. Madrid, Salvador y San Nicolás, 1 May 1886 - ?) and wife (m. Madrid, Santa Teresa, 12 December 1910) Ana María de Palacio y Velasco (29 April 1890 - ?), daughter of the 6th Marquess of Casa Palacio and wife the 1st Marchioness of Villarreal de Álava and grandaunt of Loyola de Palacio and Ana de Palacio, and had issue:[2] His wife died in 2006.

  • Ana María de Santiago y Morales de Los Ríos
  • María Ignacia de Santiago y Morales de Los Ríos
  • María Fernanda de Santiago y Morales de Los Ríos
  • María del Dulce Nombre de Santiago y Morales de Los Ríos
  • Fernando de Santiago y Morales de Los Ríos