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Home > Jordi Pujol > Biography

A biography of Jordi Pujol

Essential Information:

  • Born June 9 1930 in Barcelona. Married to Marta Ferrusola, with whom he has 7 children.
  • Earned a Doctorate in Medicine from Barcelona University.
  • Speaks Catalan, Spanish, French, English, German and Italian.
  • At 11 years of age, first became aware of Catalonia's devastation in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. It was then that he began to consider the future challenge: to rebuild Catalonia.
  • June 13 1960: imprisoned by the Franco regime for protest activities at the Palau de la Música. Remained in prison until 1962.
  • April 24 1980: elected as the first president of the Catalan Generalitat after the re-establishment of democracy in Spain.
  • December 16 2003: left the presidency after 23 consecutive years.

A Short Political Biography of Jordi Pujol

Jordi Pujol served as president of the Catalan Generalitat and party leader of the nationalist coalition Convergència i Unió (CiU) from 1980 to 2003. He was consecutively re-elected in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1995 and 1999.

At the first, fifth and sixth legislatures CiU won the parliamentary elections with a relative majority, and at the second, third and fourth, by an absolute majority. Complete political biography.

Early Years

It is well known that when Jordi Pujol was 11 years old he was deeply affected by the conditions in Catalonia, ravaged by the Spanish Civil War, and while in conversation with his uncle and a friend on this subject, he was told: "It will take many years to restore all that has been lost". That moment was a milestone for Pujol, as it was at this point that his dreams of rebuilding Catalonia began.

He came from a family background with profound Catalan nationalist roots. The strength of his Catalan identity became evident from an early age. One summer in Premiá, when he was only 12 or 13 years old, he asked his uncle for a book to learn to read and write in Catalan. One of his most enduring characteristics has been his aptitude for self-study.

When he finished secondary school, he was still unclear about what to study. In the end, he decided on medicine. He completed his work without considerable effort and obtained good marks. During his university days, he met people who became lifelong friends, such as Jaume Vicens Vives, Josep Benet, Joan Triadú and Raimon Galí, whom he would later consider to be one of his mentors.

Activism and Prison

In 1946, when he was sixteen, Jordi Pujol became actively involved in the resistance against General Franco's regime, from both a political and a cultural standpoint: in the struggle for democracy and the defence of Catalan language and culture, principally because Catalan nationalism was persecuted by the dictatorship.

These activities led to his arrest in May 1960 for organising democratic Catalan-nationalistic campaigns. Convicted, he remained imprisoned until the end of 1962, and afterwards he spent one year exiled in Girona. More about his political activism.

Once out of prison, he devoted his efforts in the 1960s to cultural, social and economic initiatives, which the official institutions of the time did not support, from founding a bank to collaborating on a general encyclopaedia of the Catalan language. He also supported and took part in numerous educational, publishing and cooperative endeavours. More about his cultural activism.

Image of Jordi Pujol

Image of Jordi Pujol

Image of Jordi Pujol

The Start of his Political Career

During the seventies, in harmony with the new mood effecting Spanish society, he became more active in politics with the founding of the political party, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, of which he was president.

President of Catalonia

In 1977, Spain held its first elections after the re-establishment of democracy. Jordi Pujol won a seat in the Spanish parliament in Madrid. He was re-elected in 1979, but subsequently resigned in 1980 in order to run as a presidential candidate in the Catalan parliamentary elections, in which he was elected president of the Generalitat.

Throughout six terms, spanning 23 years, the Pujol administration was key in restoring Catalonia's autonomy, ensuring Jordi Pujol's place in Catalan history as its most important public figure in the new era marked by the return to democracy. More about his political actions.

His extensive dedication to Europe led him to be elected President of the Assembly of European Regions in 1992.

Intellectual Activism

Jodi Pujol's political activism has always been complemented by intense intellectual. He has written numerous books that focus largely on his concerns: they are principally centred on the Catalan question, as well as Europe as an objective, especially in reference to other European regions that face similar problems. See a list of all his books.

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