Adolfo Suárez, the first Prime Minister of Spain after Franco’s death, and the man who lead the transition from a military dictatorship to a semi-functioning democracy, is expected to die this weekend, according to a tearful statement from his son.
Suárez has suffered from severe Alzheimer’s, which has left him unable to cope by himself since 2005.
Suárez was a close friend of King Juan Carlos, who has visited him several times during his long illness, and who gave his Royal Assent to todays press release, according to Suárez’s son.
“My father is not expected to last a further 48 hours, although this is in the hands of God” explained his son. “He is comfortable and not in pain, but the doctors have no hope, due to his long illness.”
He continued to say that “I have informed His Majesty the King, and President Rajoy”.
There is some speculation that Suárez, admitted to hospital with a severe pneumonia a couple of weeks ago, may have had his life support machine switched off, although his son has not specifically said this.
Suárez became the first Prime Minister of Spain upon Franco’s death, as he was seen as a safe pair of hands by other government figures at the time, and founded a political party called UCD, union centro demócratico. He won Spain’s first democratic elections, but his party dissolved amongst infighting, with several figures defecting to the PSOE party, and his attempt to win the next election failed miserably, with the PSOE sweeping to victory.