MADRID – Spain’s crown prince, prime minister and top leaders of the governing Popular Party on Monday gathered at the La Almudena cathedral in Madrid to attend the funeral Mass for PP co-founder Manuel Fraga, who died on Jan. 15.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Fraga’s daughter Carmen welcomed Prince Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia, upon their arrival at the cathedral.
On hand were practically all of the top government officials, as well as the PP’s executive committee and the regional leaders of the party, among other noteworthy figures.
The Mass was celebrated by Madrid’s archbishop, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, who, like Manuel Fraga, was born in the northern town of Villalba.
In his homily, the cardinal emphasized Fraga’s “noble service to Spain” in circumstances that were “not always easy.”
Rouco praised the human and political figure of the fallen leader, who was “admired and respected by a countless number of fellow citizens, who will never forget the extraordinarily generous, selfless and tireless way (he attended to) the common good of the Spanish people.”
Fraga, who died in Madrid at the age of 89, was buried last Tuesday alongside wife Maria del Carmen Estevez, who died in 1996, at a small cemetery in Perbes, near Villalba.
The deceased’s native Galicia said its last official goodbye to the man who headed the regional government for almost 16 years at a ceremony last Saturday in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela.
Fraga was the last surviving major figure from the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco and played a crucial role in the country’s transition to democracy as one of the drafters of Spain’s 1978 constitution.
After Franco’s death, Fraga helped found the Popular Alliance, forerunner of the now-ruling Popular Party, and was later named honorary chairman of the conservative PP. EFE