Juan José Ibarretxe

Last updated
Juan Jose Ibarretxe
Lehendakari of the Basque Country
In office
2 January 1999 7 May 2009
Vice President Idoia Zenerrutzabeitia Beldarrain
Preceded by José Antonio Ardanza
Succeeded by Patxi López
Deputy Lehendakari of the Basque Country
In office
4 January 1995 2 January 1999
President José Antonio Ardanza
Preceded by Jon Imanol Azúa
Succeeded by Idoia Zenerrutzabeitia Beldarrain
Personal details
Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu

(1957-05-15) 15 May 1957 (age 61)
Llodio, Álava, Spain
Political party PNV
Spouse(s)Begoña Arregui

Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu (born 15 March 1957) [1] is a Basque politician that advocated Basque nationalism. [2] A leading member of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), he was lehendakari (President) of Spain's Basque Autonomous Community from 2 January 1999 to 7 May 2009.

Basque nationalism nationalist movement

Basque nationalism is a form of nationalism that asserts that Basques, an ethnic group indigenous to the western Pyrenees, are a nation, and promotes the political unity of the Basques. Since its inception in the late 19th century, Basque nationalism has included separatist movements.

Basque Nationalist Party Natoinalist political party in the Basque Country

The Basque Nationalist Party, officially Basque National Party in English, is a Christian democratic and Basque nationalist party. It operates in all the territories comprising the Basque Country: the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre in Spain, and in the French Basque Country. It also has delegations in dozens of foreign nations, specifically those with a major presence of Basque immigrants.

Basque Country (autonomous community) Autonomous community of Spain

The Basque Country, officially the Basque Autonomous Community is an autonomous community in northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay, and Gipuzkoa.


Origins and early political career

Ibarretxe (middle) at an event in San Sebastian Jipresident.jpg
Ibarretxe (middle) at an event in San Sebastián

He was born in Llodio in the province of Álava, and holds a degree in Economics from the University of the Basque Country. In 1983 he was elected a member of the Basque Parliament for Álava, representing the PNV, and from then on rose steadily to prominence. From 1986-1990 and 1991-1994 he was the President of the PNV Economic and Budgetary Commission. On 4 January 1995, then Basque President José Antonio Ardanza appointed him Vice President.

Álava Province of Spain

Álava or Araba, officially Araba/Álava, is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lordship of Álava, former medieval Catholic bishopric and now Latin titular see.

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

University of the Basque Country University

The University of the Basque Country is the public university of the Basque Autonomous Community. Heir of the University of Bilbao, initially it was made up of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences of Sarriko (1955), Medicine (1968) and Sciences (1968). Following the General Law of Education (1970), the Nautical School (1784), the School of Business Studies of Bilbao (1818) and the Technical Schools of Engineers (1897) joined in, until it grew into the complex of thirty centers that compose it presently.


On 28 March 1998, he was nominated PNV presidential candidate to compete in the October 25 Basque election, and became lehendakari (president) on 2 January 1999. In October 2003 he released the highly controversial Ibarretxe Plan (Plan Ibarretxe), which foresees a future Basque country freely associated with Spain, with its own separate legal system and European Union (EU) representation.

Ibarretxe Plan

The Political Statute of the Community of the Basque Country, more known as Ibarretxe Plan was a proposal by former lehendakari Juan Jose Ibarretxe to radically alter the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country proposing a free association of the Basque Country with Spain on an equal footing, and that including a right to self-determination.

Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare general good or advantage" dates from the 15th century. Originally a phrase it comes from the old meaning of "wealth", which is "well-being", and is itself a loose translation of the Latin res publica (republic). The term literally meant "common well-being". In the 17th century, the definition of "commonwealth" expanded from its original sense of "public welfare" or "commonweal" to mean "a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state".

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Private life and hobbies

Ibarretxe grew up speaking only Spanish, but now speaks Basque acceptably and English. He is an avid cycling fan and has presided over a cycling club in Llodio. He is married and has two children. He is a non-practising Roman Catholic.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Basque language Language of the Basque people

Basque (; euskara[eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is a language spoken in the Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate to any other known living language. The Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country. The Basque language is spoken by 28.4% (751,500) of Basques in all territories. Of these, 93.2% (700,300) are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 6.8% (51,200) are in the French portion.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

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  1. IBARRETXE MARKUARTU Juan José International Who's Who. accessed 1 September 2006.
  2. Wilkinson, Tracy (23 March 2006). "Basque Separatist Group Ends Four-Decade War With Spain". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 28 May 2018.
Preceded by
José Antonio Ardanza
Lehendakari (Basque President)
Succeeded by
Patxi López
Preceded by
Jon Imanol Azúa
Deputy Lehendakari (Deputy Basque President)
Succeeded by
Idoia Zenerrutzabeitia Beldarrain