Santiago Muñoz Machado (Pozoblanco, Córdoba, 69) has been elected this Thursday by an absolute majority, director of the Royal Spanish Academy. Substitute in office to Darío Villanueva, who leaves the post after five years in which the trajectory of the institution has been marked by the economic crisis.
Muñoz Machado has imposed himself in the vote with 22 votes to 13 a Juan Luis Cebrián, the other candidate with the most votes from a short list in which the linguist has also participated José Antonio Pascual.
"Cebrián was the first to congratulate me," Muñoz Machado told reporters minutes after the end of the vote, which has taken place in a "very cordial atmosphere". This consideration coincides with other sources within the Academy. "We all get along well, although sometimes we argue, we always end up parking our differences, and we're going to go for more," he added.
"The Academy is a matter of State and the State has the obligation to attend it, to raise its prestige at an international level," he said. The first priority is to address the economic problems of the entity, he stressed. Not in vain, the jurist has before it the challenge of improving the accounts of an institution that has suffered harshly the times of cuts, the lack of public support and has seen its income depleted in other aspects.
On the possible restructuring of the staff of the RAE, which has 85 employees (the 46 academics only charge a daily allowance of 140 euros to attend the meetings), Muñoz Machado has stated that the staff is adequate and that only some reform would be proposed in a very exceptional case, always depending on resources.
Another outstanding subject that has generated controversy within the RAE is the one in charge of the Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo, that the institution drafts a report on the use of inclusive language in the Constitution. In this respect, Muñoz Machado has indicated that the work is quite advanced "and that it can enter a plenary session of the RAE in January, Paz Battaner, Inés Fernández-Ordóñez, Ignacio Bosque and Pedro Álvarez de Miranda are the four academic speakers. Of the report.
But the great war will face the new director of the RAE is to find sources of funding to ensure the continuity and work of an institution with 305 years old. The aid received from the State has been reduced by 60%, according to those responsible. In addition, the income derived from the pro RAE foundation, with a fixed capital that provided good dividends a year, has stopped giving them 10 years ago. Another source of income, the publisher, has also been reduced by the scarce sale of its publications, mainly the Dictionary, which now has a digital plant. All this has produced a delicate situation that translates into a current deficit estimated at two million euros.
Hence, academics have opted for a manager profile rather than a philologist, as it had been traditional. Dario Villanueva pointed it out by deciding not to run for a second term. The outgoing manager has insisted on the aspect of changing to an address with experience in the business sector because the urgent thing in this mandate is to save the accounts of the SAR.
Santiago Muñoz Machado is Professor of Administrative Law at the Complutense University of Madrid, has directed his own law firm and the Iustel publishing house for years, and is the author of an extensive work that includes stories, historical research, political essays and, course, the right. Specialist in the fields of European constitutional, administrative and community law, worked during the Transition in the Presidency of the Government and participated in the drafting of the Constitution project.
Muñoz Machado was elected in December 2012 to occupy the armchair 'r' of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), which had been vacant a few months before the death of the illustrator and humorist Antonio Mingote. His candidacy, which had the support of Eduardo García de Enterría, Luis Mateo Díez and José Manuel Sánchez Ron, won more votes than the other candidate, also a jurist Antonio Garrigues Walker. The Cordovan professor he recalled then in statements to this newspaper that in the RAE "there have always been jurists, partly because, of all the social sciences, perhaps the law is the most important from the point of view of the use of language structures".
In addition to his activity as academic of the RAE, Muñoz Machado is director of the Law Journal and from the magazine The Social State Chronicler Y Democratic Law and member of the editorial boards of other Spanish and foreign journals, as well as academic number of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, academic of honor of the Colombian Academy of Language and of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Fine Arts and Nobles Artes de Córdoba and corresponding academic of the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences of Buenos Aires, according to the web of the RAE.
Winner in 2013 of the 2013 National Essay Award for his work Report on Spain. Rethink the State or destroy it and, this same year, from National Award of History of Spain by We speak the same language -An encyclopedic work on the journey of the Spanish language in the New Continent-, among the distinctions it has received include the Grand Cross of the Order of San Raimundo de Peñafort, granted in 2016, and the Medal of Andalusia, in 2014. And , among its works, it is also worth mentioning the Treaty on Administrative Law and General Public Law -The work of reference in the matter, both in Spain and in other countries-, the book of stories Cold river (2010), and historical research The problem of the structuring of the State in Spain (2006). He has also promoted the projects History of Spanish law (2015), Spanish legal dictionary (2016), Pan-Hispanic dictionary of legal Spanish (2014) and the Justice style book (2017).
A little over a year ago, the writer and jurist also promoted a report in favor of a constitutional reform in Spain. Written by a dozen specialists in the field, it was to propose "a few ideas that could be discussed," as he explained a few weeks ago. this diary.