Wilfried Martens, president of the European People’s Party since 1990 and a former prime minister of Belgium, has died at the age of 77.
Martens died two days after it was announced, on October 8, that he was delegating his responsibilities as president of the EPP to the group’s chairman, Joseph Daul, because of ill-health.
Prime minister of Belgium from April 1979 to April 1981 and again from December 1981 to March 1992, he led the Belgian Christian People’s Party (later renamed the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party) from 1972 to 1979, was a member of the Belgian chamber of representatives from 1974 to 1991 and was a senator from 1991 to 1994.
Martens co-founded the European People’s Party in 1976. The group currently is the largest in the European Parliament and has the largest share of European commissioners.
He was an MEP from 1994 to 1999.
He had a doctorate in law, a degree in notarial studies and a baccalaureat in Thomistic philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain and studied international political science at Harvard University, according to his Wikipedia entry.