Santiago Muñoz Machado, new president of the RAE

Santiago Muñoz Machado, new president of the RAE

Santiago Muñoz Machado He has been elected as the new president of the Royal Spanish Academy to replace Darío Villanueva.

Muñoez Machado, secretary of the RAE since 2015, he is a jurist, Professor of Administrative and Academic Law at the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, as well as the recent National History Award for "We speak the same language. Political history of Spanish in America ».

The declaration last October of Darío Villanueva, current director of the House, that he was not going to renew for a third term, caught the academics by surprise and triggered an earthquake that shook the institution and gave the starting signal to a race by the succession that has not been free of controversy. From that moment the candidates began to run. It was Thursday and after the announcement it was already predicted that there would be a couple, at least, of members among whom the future direction of the Royal Spanish Academy would be resolved. Or that this year could be a woman who ended up occupying, for the first time in the 305-year history of the RAE, the position of director (case, as it is counted «sotto voce», of Inés Fernández-Ordóñez, the youngest academic). In the end it has not been like this.

Throughout its three centuries of life there have been only eleven academic females in total, and currently there are eight: Carmen Iglesias, Margarita Salas, Soledad Puértolas, Inés Fernández-Ordóñez, Carmen Riera, Aurora Egido, Clara Janés and Paz Battaner The name of the journalist Juan Luis Cebrián, who occupies the "V" chair since 1997, was firmly heard.

However, it has been Santiago Muñoz Machado the winner.

Hard economic situation

The economic situation of the RAE it marks the future of the institution, very concerned about the numbers and that has seen a drastic reduction in its allocation in the amount it receives from the State (for the General Budgets of 2018 it has received the same contribution as in 2017, 1.6 million of euros, about 20% of the total budget of the institution, around 7 million), as well as sponsorships. Achieving income must be a priority task for the new tenant. If the mandates of the last three directors, Víctor García de la Concha, José Manuel Blecua and Darío Villanueva, have been marked by the crisis, especially the latter, the economic loss is today a fact that academics lament. Or the journalist or the jurist should put in place mechanisms to obtain new sources of income. The paper dictionaries do not sell what would be desirable and the Royal Academy is still seen as an outdated institution, and not as the great house of the language. Today it has 46 lifelong academics (and who do not receive remuneration) and 80 employees.

The last year has been weighed down by controversies such as the report on the inclusive language of the Spanish Constitution, which the Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo, he commissioned the RAE. Darío Villanueva has reiterated on several occasions that the conclusions of the same will not be "very different" to the text that was elaborated in 2012, "Linguistic Sexism and visibility of women". "There will be no surprises," was the phrase used. Paz Battaner, Ignacio Bosque, Inés Fernández-Ordóñez and Pedro Álvarez de Miranda participated in the event. It will not be until January when the text is approved by the plenary of the institution.

In a year marked by requests for redefinition of terms, the penultimate came yesterday. It is the verb «to make up», whose meanings are recognized by the RAE they refer to modifying or disguising, while the authors of a video, promoted by members of the cinema and a cosmetics brand, will ask (they have not yet done so by writing) to include the following definition: "Action by which reaffirms or consolidates someone's identity through the application of cosmetic products ».


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