He studied Law in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and had several positions in the State Administration during the regime under Francisco Franco after he graduated.
Because he worked in the Nationalist Movement (the Falange) for 18 years and became its secretary-general after Francisco Franco's death (1975), centrist and leftist forces opposed his appointment in July, 1976, as premier by King Juan Carlos. Suárez was elected by Juan Carlos to lead the country towards a democratic monarchy, and Suárez introduced The Political Reform in 1976 as a first step in the process. In 1977 he led the coalition Democratic Center Union (Unión de Centro Democrático) to victory in Spain's first free elections in 41 years, and became the first democratically elected president after the Franco regime.
His centrist government instituted democractic reforms, and his coalition again won the 1979 elections under the new constitution. Less successful as a day-to-day organizer than as a crisis manager, he was replaced as premier in 1981. In 1982 he founded Democratic and Social Center (Centro Democrático y Social) party. He retired from active politics in 1991, caused by a weakening of his political party and of family reasons.
He was given the title "Principe de Asturias a la Concoardia" in September 1996, marking his important personal support to the Spanish democracy.