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Spain's ruling Popular Party founder dies at 89

(Xinhua)

16:53, January 16, 2012

MADRID, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Manuel Fraga Iribarne, founder of Spain's ruling Popular Party, died of heart failure late Sunday at his Madrid home, aged 89.

Fraga, a Galician, was born on Nov. 23, 1922.

After studying law and political science, he began his political career in 1945, six years after Franco won the Spanish Civil War.

Fraga's long political career spanned from the administration of Francisco Franco to the government after his death on Nov. 20, 1975.

Fraga served as the country's information and tourism minister between 1962 and 1969, during which his most famous act was taking a swim with the U.S. ambassador to Spain after a U.S. plane carrying hydrogen bombs crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

For a short time, he served as the ambassador to London, but returned to Spain upon Franco's death.

He was one of the writers of the new Spanish Constitution, which was approved in 1978.

He formed his own political party Alianza Popular, which became the opposition after the Socialists' victory in 1982, 1986 and 1989.

In 1989, Fraga converted the Alizana Popular into the Popular Party (PP) and promoted the leadership of Jose Maria Aznar, who served as Spanish prime minister between 1996 and 2004.

Meanwhile, Fraga became honorary president of the PP and returned to his Galician home, where he became president of the Galician autonomous community.

He was elected as a senator of Galicia in 2008, but didn't stand in the 2011 election.

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