His name seemed the preferred one from the beginning and, probably, in other circumstances there would not have been a single doubt: he would have been chosen. But in front of him he had a hard candidate, who presented his intention to occupy the chair of the management from the beginning and, according to the rumors, made an arduous campaign to gain followers. But, in the end, Santiago Muñoz Machado has achieved the backing of yesterday's plenary session and has become the new director of the RAE.
Jurist of formation, professor at the Complutense University, member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and secretary of the Royal Spanish Academy, he has always understood the Law not only as a defense of the Constitution and Laws, but also of the written word, a task to which he has dedicated effort, time and several important works. His prestige has been based on a solid career, abundant, with different vectors and directions, but in which his career as an essayist stands out with titles such as "Spain: rethink the State or destroy it" (2012), "Catalonia and the rest of Spain »(2014) and« Old and New Constitution »(2016). Although, probably, what has most supported his candidacy to take the helm of this institution during the next four years has been the «Dictionary of legal Spanish», an emblematic and enormous work that has consolidated it among the other academics, that since At the beginning they saw with good eyes a man who was dragging behind him not only an academic work but also philological and of clear prestige. A notable advantage in the battle that has been fought to reach the leadership since Darío Villanueva announced that he was not running for re-election.
First, the economy
Santiago Muñoz Machado has also been favored by his optimistic statements about the future of the SAR, finding new sources of financing and the possibility of recovering the delicate economic situation that this house has been facing since the crisis began in 2008. A period in which income decreased in different ways and, also, by the drop in sales of his books (which were previously true «best-seller»), due mainly to the irruption of the internet that has affected the dictionary, and has led many academics to think of a profile more of manager, with a clean past and without any political involvement. A countenance that helps them to chart the course again and to return the economic bonanza that they enjoyed in the past. "The first thing we are going to address are the economic problems. I am convinced that the Government will pay us due attention and that it will help us to maintain the prestige so that the RAE continues to be a reference institution. It is necessary that it can work with tranquility. It is a question of State and the State has to be very careful so that this institution has all the economic guarantees and of any other kind so that its prestige is maintained and grows in the future ».
With these words Muñoz Machado is premiered as director of the RAE. Although he did not want to enter too much into the plans he has in mind, he did advance some lines that he will apply in the following months on several issues. At the moment, to clear ghosts and that everyone was calm, he advanced that "all the personnel of the RAE is of an extraordinary qualification and can not be replaced by others who do not have a qualification similar to theirs. As a manager I think I have to confirm the staff, do not do without them. It is something fundamental in any good manager. And I, in addition, I have no reason to think that there is staff in this house that can be dispensable. I confirm everything now. The number of personnel always depends on the economic resources and my first job is to keep all their posts. Only exceptionally and in a limited way will there be a reduction in personnel ".
As usual, the previous director usually presents the new one to introduce it. And yesterday's presentation obeyed that tradition. Darío Villanueva accompanied Muñoz Machado, who said he was "very proud to preside and have been elected to lead an institution that is three hundred years old and that is the most important that exists to defend the goals pursued and that seeks to defend the unification of a language spoken by around 500 million people. The responsibility that falls on my shoulders is enormous. I will dedicate all this time and all my efforts to this enormous task and to ensure that the RAE is well managed ". Then he added that his primary duty is that "the economic problems that exist now disappear, but then address other essential, such as the digital dictionary, which is urgent." Muñoz Machado also did not want to avoid another of the great questions: the inclusive language, which has raised so much battle in the preceding months, and where language and politics are mixed. "A report has been made that is of extraordinary technical quality. The members of the delegated committee of the plenary have to approve it in the future. At the moment, I do not know about it, because the people in charge have also been very careful to avoid spreading its content. But I can advance that the first thing that will be done will be to approve it, at the end of January or the beginning of February, and that as soon as it is studied and approved, it will be made public. "
Not without a sense of humor, when referring to the disputes within the Academy on the occasion of these elections, he said: "Everything is very cordial here. The RAE, despite what they say, is a sea school of cordial. We get along well. We are people who have different points of view of things and we sometimes clash, but any incident in the plenary session is corrected with education. We have no problems and we will have less in the future, because I am going to try that the treatment inside the RAE is excellent and that we all come to spend the afternoons of happy Thursdays. Cebrián was the first to congratulate me ».