Albert Rivera was born November 15, 1979, Barcelona, Catalonia. Rivera is a Spanish attorney and politician, holding the role of President of the political party Citizens (C’s). Rivera served as a Member of the Parliament of Catalonia from 1 November 2006 – 4 August 2015. He is currently the candidate for President of the Government of Spain.
ORIGINS AND STUDIES
Rivera studied Law at ESADE, University Ramon Llull. During his time as a student he became a member of the University’s oratory team, winning the national university oratory championship in 2000. In 2001, I have transfered his studies to Finland within the Erasmus program. Later on, Rivera completed a course on Political Communication at George Washington University (US).
After graduating in 2002, Rivera was hired by La Caixa Bank and simultaneously began a PhD in Constitutional Law (2002-2004). In 2004, I passed an internal competition in La Caixa and worked as Counsel in the Legal Department of the Central Services of the Bank until 2006. Rivera’s interest in politics led him to pursue a career in the field and in that same year he requested an unpaid leave to prepare for the Catalonian regional elections of 2006.
In the first Congress of Citizens, held in July 2006, Albert Rivera was elected president of the party and the elected candidate to the Presidency of the Government of Catalonia. In the Catalonian regional elections of the same year, Citizens obtained three deputies, becoming the sixth political force of Catalonia. As a member of the Catalonian Parliament, Rivera became a well-known politician who used both Catalan and Spanish languages. He consequently became the leader of the main opposition party to the Catalonian independence movement.
In 2010 Rivera won, eleven again, the primary elections of his party to run for President of the Generalitat de Catalonia. In the Catalonian elections, held in September 2010, he was re-elected and Citizens kept 3 deputies in the regional parliament.
In the Catalonian regional elections of November 25, 2012, the party of Albert Rivera tripled its representation in the Parliament, earning nine seats. This victory made Citizens the main opposition party to nationalism in the Catalonian parliament. Today the party holds 36 seats in the Catalonian parliament and leads, since September 2015, the opposition in the Parliament.
What is a day like in the life of Albert Rivera?
The main characteristic of my life is that there are not two days alike. I do not have an entry or exit schedule. I try to sleep six or seven hours because my work days are about fifteen or sixteen hours a day.
How do you reconcile your work with your personal life?
Being a separated father with an agenda as complicated as mine and 600 kilometers away from my daughter is not easy. The weekends with my daughter Daniela are sacred. My team has always known and respected it. They know that if I spend time with my daughter then they can squeeze me to the fullest.
Does your daughter know what her father really does?
Relatively. She is a seven-year-old girl. Since she was little she has seen her father stopped in the street to ask for pictures or he has seen me on TV. When I ask questions I try to do pedagogy because it is not easy to explain what I do. I think he’s more aware that people recognize me from the work I do. I suppose he lives it like any son who has known parents. In any case, I always try to condition it as little as possible so that it is free and can make its own decisions in the future.
Does technology help you to be a little closer to your daughter?
Of course. Every day before dinner, about 8 or 9 at night, I connect with Daniela. Through the mobile phone of his mother or the tablet we always try to connect 10 – 15 minutes by videoconference to tell me what he has done during the day, I tell him where I am, and so on.
What do you spend your free time?
I always try to find small moments to go to the movies, go out to dinner or make a weekend getaway. When we have events outside Madrid, I try to go swimming in the hotel pool if there is one or go out for a while.
Are you religious?
I am an agnostic, although I respect all religions. I also value the spiritual phenomenon of religion in moral terms. I believe in social justice, that’s why I studied Law, because I believe in a just society. Liberals have to guarantee that whoever believes in a religion can manifest it as well as who does not believe. In freedom is the key to coexistence. I am not religious, but I love knowing what each religion says, I love visiting churches and cathedrals, because they are part of our art and our history. Trying to understand the world without considering where we come from is not understanding the world.
You read alot?
Less than what I would like and less than what I read before I was so busy, although I take the opportunity to devour books on vacation and on long weekends. Before making a trip, I look for two or three books about the place I am going to visit, although I finish reading one and a half, but it is something that I love to do.
What book would you recommend?
I liked Sapiens a lot . For me, who studied Law as I said before, I think the structure of a State, what is a nation, what religions are fundamental. Another of my favorite books is The Human Factor about Nelson Mandela written by John Carlin.
And a novel?
I do not read much fiction, I prefer the essay. I resort to novels to degrease a little. I loved ‘ Homeland’. It is an exceptional novel and, unfortunately, it is too much like what is happening in Catalonia, removing, of course, terrorism. Those barriers in Catalan families, that coldness, those silences.
I like Borgen and Designated Successor.
What is your favorite movie?
So, to boat soon, Philadelphia and Mystic River of Eastwood
What is your criterion when choosing your clothes?
My premise is always common sense: I do not go in flip flops to Congress in the same way that I would not go in a suit to the beach. When I was a deputy in the Parliament of Catalonia, some deputies from other parties went in flip flops. In Congress I have not encountered this situation, but I have seen deputies in tracksuits. I always opt for common sense.
What clothes predominate in your wardrobe?
At first he wore many striped and checked shirts, but it turns out that the stripes do not work on television, and with the pictures it seemed that he was always dressed the same. It is true that they tire a lot. So, I’m always going smooth, because with a plain shirt and a tie different from the previous day, you look like another.
Which car you drive?
Right now, an automatic Volkswagen Golf. I used to have an Audi A3 and a Yamaha 1000.
And have you had to pay many traffic fines?
Several. I imagine that like many people, like me, we spend the whole day on the road and do not travel by official car.
What is the Spain of Albert Rivera?
Spain has grown in 40 years which had not grown in a century and a half since the Cortes of Cádiz. The Constitution and Democracy are a success, but it is not enough. If we do not take the opportunity to make reforms in the labor, educational and justice model, in ten years we will regret it. Citizens is part of optimistic Spain. We are a great country and we will be even better. For conservatives, nothing has to be changed. For the left Spain is a disaster. For liberals, however, our country only needs its policy to look a little more like its citizens. Spanish civil society is comparable to that of any leading European country. Now, corruption, unemployment or educational quality do not depend on the Spaniards, but on the efficiency of their politicians.
What role does education play in a society?
Education for the liberals is sacred. A decent country has to guarantee that a person can study, even if they do not have resources. I love the phrase ” freedom without equality is untenable, but equality without freedom is unbearable . ” I believe in equality and social justice. I will not choose between freedom and equality. They are two beacons of liberal democracy and both have to be always illuminating our politics.
How would you define progressive liberalism?
I consider myself progressive because I have lived in my own flesh the advantages of social justice. I was able to go to Finland one year thanks to an Erasmus scholarship and to learn English thanks to that experience. The heritage that my parents have left me is not great wealth, but the freedom and training to be what I want.
How would you describe the Cs team?
It’s a team of friends that sometimes I have to get down to earth when the polls give us a great result. The polls should always be taken prudently. Those of us who lead teams have to lower our spirits. I think it’s fundamental to work with good people before with good professionals. In Citizens we have it clear: first we look for good people and then we ask them for the curriculum.
- Albert Rivera Biography and Profile (Albert Rivera)