Soledad Becerril

Doña María de la Soledad Becerril y Bustamante, Marquise consort of Salvatierra (born 16 August 1944 in Madrid, Spain) is a Spanish noble, politician and long serving member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies who belongs to the People's Party (PP). In 1981 she served as the first female Government Minister in almost 50 years and later became the first female Mayor of Seville. Becerril is married to Rafael Atienza y Medina, 8th Marquis of Salvatierra and Chancellor of the Royal Cavalry Armory of Seville

Soledad Becerril
Soledad Becerril en la III Simulación del Congreso Español (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, 2011) (2).jpg
Ombudsman of Spain
In office
20 June 2012 – 21 July 2017
MonarchJuan Carlos I
Felipe VI
Preceded byMaría Luisa Cava de Llano y Carrió
Succeeded byFrancisco Fernández Marugán
Minister of Culture
In office
2 December 1981 – 3 December 1982
MonarchJuan Carlos I
Prime MinisterLeopoldo Calvo Sotelo
Preceded byÍñigo Cavero
Succeeded byJavier Solana
Mayor of Seville
In office
25 June 1995 – 4 July 1999
Preceded byAlejandro Rojas-Marcos
Succeeded byAlfredo Sánchez Monteseirín
Personal details
Born (1944-08-16) 16 August 1944 (age 78)
Madrid, Spanish State
Political partyPeople's Party
Union of the Democratic Centre
Alma materComplutense University of Madrid
AwardsOrder of Charles III (1982)
Order of Saint Raymond of Peñafort (2017)

Early careerEdit

Married with two children, Becerril graduated in philosophy and letters at the University of Madrid, specialising in English philology. She subsequently worked as a lecturer at the University of Seville. She entered politics in 1974 when she joined the Federation of Democratic and Liberal parties and subsequently joined the Democratic Party of Andalusia (PDA). The PDA joined with other parties in May 1977 to form the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD), a coalition which won the first democratic election since the death of Franco and the end of Francoist Spain. Becerril was elected as a UCD deputy to the Spanish Congress of Deputies representing Seville Province and was re-elected at the 1979 election.

Minister of CultureEdit

In December 1981 the new Prime Minister Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo appointed her Minister of Culture. Becerril thus became the first female Minister in Spain since the Second Spanish Republic, almost 50 years earlier,[1] and only the second female Spanish Minister in history after Federica Montseny in 1936.

People's PartyEdit

Like most UCD deputies, she lost her seat at the 1982 General Election and the UCD disbanded in February 1983. She subsequently joined the PP and in 1989 returned to the Spanish Congress as a PP deputy and was re-elected in 1996 and 2000. In 2004 she was elected to the Spanish Senate and served one term until 2008. In 2008 she returned to the Congress of Deputies, replacing Javier Arenas as head of the PP list[2] on the recommendation of Arenas.[3]

Mayor of SevilleEdit

Becerril also served as a local councillor in Seville. She served as Deputy Mayor from 1991 to 1995 and then Mayor of the city from 1995 to 1999[4] becoming the first female Mayor of Seville.[5]

In 1998, while on her way to Switzerland to promote Seville's candidacy for the 2008 Olympics, Becerril's plane was hijacked at Valencia Airport, though the hijacker surrendered without injuring any passengers.[6]

Defender of the People (Ombudsman)Edit

On 29 June 2012, she was appointed Defender of the People until 21 July 2017.[7]


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