María Teresa Fernández de la Vega

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega

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María Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz, LLD (born 15 June 1949) is a Spanish Valencian
Valencian people
The Valencians are an ethnic group or nationality whose homeland is the Valencian Community, which is a historical region in eastern Spain. The official languages of Valencia are Catalan , and Spanish ....

 Socialist
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

 politician. From 18 April 2004 to 20 October 2010, she was the First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidency and Cabinet Spokesperson in the government of Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party . He was elected for two terms as Prime Minister of Spain, in the 2004 and 2008 general elections. On 2 April 2011 he announced he will not stand for re-election in 2012...

. She is the first female Deputy Prime Minister in Spanish history.

Biography


María Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz is the daughter of a high-ranking Francoist public servant, Wenceslao Fernández de la Vega Lombán, delegate of the Ministry of Employment headed at that time by Fermín Sanz Orrio (1957–1962). She earned a degree in Law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 in the Complutense University of Madrid
Complutense University of Madrid
The Complutense University of Madrid is a university in Madrid, and one of the oldest universities in the world. It is located on a sprawling campus that occupies the entirety of the Ciudad Universitaria district of Madrid, with annexes in the district of Somosaguas in the neighboring city of...

 in the early 1970s. She subsequently moved to Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, where she became a Doctor of Law. In 1974 she entered Spain's Cuerpo de Secretarios Jurídicos Laborales, a specialised body of the civil service.

She started her political career in the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia
Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia
The Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia , was formed on July 23, 1936 through the unification of four left-wing groups; the Catalan Federation of Spanish Socialist Workers' Party , the Partit Comunista de Catalunya , the Unió Socialista de Catalunya and the...

, remaining a member of it until 1979. From 1982 until 1985, she was the Director of the Advisory Cabinet of the Minister of the Justice, and in 1985 she was appointed General Director of Services at the Ministry of Justice. In 1986 she became a member of the Legal Cooperation Committee of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

. In 1990, she was chosen as a spokesperson of the General Council of the Judicial Power of Spain
General Council of the Judicial Power of Spain
The General Council of the Judiciary is the constitutional body that governs all the Judiciary of Spain, such as courts, and judges, as it is established by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, article 122 and developed by the Organic Law 6/1985 of the Judiciary Power...

 by decision of the Senate
Spanish Senate
The Senate of Spain is the upper house of Spain's parliament, the . It is made up of 264 members: 208 elected by popular vote, and 56 appointed by the regional legislatures. All senators serve four-year terms, though regional legislatures may recall their appointees at any time.The last election...

 (1994–1996). On May 13, 1994, the then Minister Juan Alberto Belloch appointed her Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 of Justice.

She was elected a Member of the Spanish Congress for Jaén
Jaén (Spanish Congress Electoral District)
Jaén is one of the 52 electoral districts used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies - the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales.-Boundaries and electoral system:Under Article 68 of the Spanish constitution...

 in the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

 candidacy for the 1996-2000 term, being re-elected in the elections of 2000 for Segovia
Segovia (Spanish Congress Electoral District)
Segovia is one of the 52 electoral districts used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies - the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales. It is one of the nine electoral districts which correspond to the provinces of Castile and León. Segovia is the largest municipality...

. During this term she became General Secretary of the Socialist
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

 Parliamentary Group. In the Spanish general election of 2004 she became a Member of Parliament for Madrid
Madrid (Spanish Congress Electoral District)
Madrid is one of the 52 electoral districts used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies - the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales. It has the largest electorate of all the 52 districts. Madrid is the largest city...

, and on 18 April of that year she was appointed First Vice President of the Government and Minister of Presidency, remaining the incumbent of each. For the 2008 election she headed the list for the PSOE in Valencia
Valencia (Spanish Congress Electoral District)
Valencia is one of the 52 electoral districts used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies—the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales. It is the third largest district in Congress in terms of the numbers of deputies elected, as it elects sixteen deputies out of the total...

.

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega was the first woman to take on the functions of the President of government
Prime Minister of Spain
The President of the Government of Spain , sometimes known in English as the Prime Minister of Spain, is the head of Government of Spain. The current office is established under the Constitution of 1978...

 in the history of Spanish democracy, when, on April 24, 2004, during the first official visit abroad of Spain's prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, she presided over the Council of Ministers.

In March 2006 the First Vice President went on an African tour with the State Secretary for Cooperation, Leire Pajín
Leire Pajín
Leire Pajín Iraola is a Spanish socialist politician and the current Minister of Health, Equality and Social Policy in the cabinet led by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero....

, visiting Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 and Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, in whose capital, Maputo
Maputo
Maputo, also known as Lourenço Marques, is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. It is known as the City of Acacias in reference to acacia trees commonly found along its avenues and the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. It was famous for the inscription "This is Portugal" on the walkway of its...

, they celebrated International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day , originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and...

 and closed the forum "Spain-Africa: Women for a better world".

In 7 October 2006 she received the Tomás y Valiente Award in Fuenlabrada
Fuenlabrada
Fuenlabrada is a city and municipality located in the Madrid Metropolitan Area, Community of Madrid, Spain. It is located to the southwest of the community, 22,5 km far from the capital, and had a population of 197,836 in 2009. Is the fourth biggest town of Madrid after the capital, Móstoles...

, Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

.

Fernández de la Vega has a degree in Communitarian Law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 from the University of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

 and is a member of Justices for democracy (Jueces para la Democracia). She has written many papers, including La reforma de la jurisdicción laboral and Derechos humanos y Consejo de Europa.

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