With the death of Miguel Primo de Rivera y Urquijo (San Sebastian, 1934) disappears, a key figure in the initial momentum of the transition to democracy in our country. A member of the class policy of the franco regime who knew how to understand that Spanish society demanded spaces of freedom that the dictatorship could not give and became involved in the effort to open lines of opening, within the State of July 18, to enable their disappearance.

there are Few times in our recent history a surname has marked a political destiny as much as it marked theirs. His grandfather, general Miguel Primo de Rivera ruled Spain as a dictator between 1923 and 1930. Among his paternal uncles, José Antonio founded the Falange Española and executed by a firing squad in the early days of the Civil War, became a reference point doctrinal basis for the long-lived franco regime. Pillar presided over the Female Section of Falange, and then the National Movement, for nearly half a century. And Michael was the leader of the single Party and Agriculture minister in a Government of Franco.

Son of Fernando Primo de Rivera, military, medical, and falangist killed in the jail Model of Madrid in August of 1936, was directed to the business activity that corresponded to the tradition of the family of his mother, María del Rosario de Urquijo. In his school years he shared studios with Juan Carlos of Bourbon, with whom he joined a close friendship. A practicing attorney, he worked in banking in london and then in the Society of Naval Construction of Spanish.

But a Cousin of Rivera was not easy in these years to evade political activity. In 1965 he was appointed by the minister of the Interior, mayor of Jerez de la Frontera, the city where he had rooted for his father’s family. He held the position with remarkable success, until 1971. Then was attorney in court Betgram for the third city and a member of the National Council of the Movement, the “House of ideas” of the dictatorship. In which, as the rapporteur in his Second Section, tried to open a very limited pluralism of political association in the monolithic structure of a single party.

His fiery speech was key in the hara-kiri of the Courts of franco

In the Courts sided with the group of young politicians of origin falangist who advocated a gradual evolution of the regime to enable, after the death of Franco, a transition to democracy, by which they were known as the reformers of blue. Primo de Rivera played a very prominent role in this line and was one of the promoters of the Parliamentary Group of Independent, created in march 1976, which became the best support in the Courts of the reform promoted by Adolfo Suárez. His personal friendship and his political tune with king Juan Carlos also helped to put Miguel Primo de Rivera in the foreground of the national life in the initial moments of the Transition.

Especially the November 16, 1976, when he was publicly a leading role in the history of Spain. A member of the committee parliamentary of the Political Reform Act, the last of the Fundamental Laws of the franco regime and the key of opening up to democracy, was commissioned to present it in the Plenary meeting of the Courts. Your heartfelt defence of the democratizing process had a strong impact on public opinion and gave arguments fundamental to justify what was defined as “hara-kiri of the Courts organic”.

Settled in the months following the institutional apparatus of the dictatorship, Primo de Rivera prevented to participate in the activities of the parties during the Transition. Even so, in June of 1977, king Juan Carlos announced as one of the members of the Senate, by “royal appointment”. As a senator he was part of the Commissions of the Government Presidency, Justice and Internal affairs and Agriculture and Fisheries. But only remained two years in his seat. Held new elections in 1979, he left politics and concentrated on business activity private. Although it always remained as a historical reference point of the reform policies and the consensus that made the Constitution. When he published his memoirs (Plaza & Janés) in 2002, entitled No to the two Spains.

Julio Gil Pecharromán is professor of Contemporary History at the UNED.