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Spain politicians pay homage in state wake for former PM Adolfo Suarez

  • Spain Obit Suarez-1.jpg

    A Spanish flag flies at half staff in memory of Spain's former Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez at the Parliament in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Suarez, Spain's first democratically-elected prime minister after decades of right-wing rule under Gen. Francisco Franco, died Sunday afternoon in Madrid's Cemtro Clinic hospital. Suarez was 81-years-old. (AP Photo/Gabriel Pecot) (The Associated Press)

  • 895896c38f2b460b4f0f6a706700272e.jpg

    FILE - This is a 1980 file photo of former Prime Minister of Spain Adolfo Suarez. Suarez Spain's first democratically-elected prime minister after decades of right-wing rule under Gen. Francisco Franco, died Sunday March 23, 2014. Suarez was 81-years-old. (AP-Photo/File) (The Associated Press)

  • Spain Obit Suarez-3.jpg

    FILE- This is a Jan. 14, 1980 file photo of Spain's Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez , left, as he meets with U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the White House in Washington. Suarez Spain's first democratically-elected prime minister after decades of right-wing rule under Gen. Francisco Franco, died Sunday March 23, 2014. Suarez was 81-years-old. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook) (The Associated Press)

Spain's politicians are gathering at Parliament to pay their last respects to Adolfo Suarez, Spain's first democratically elected prime minister following decades of right-wing rule under Gen. Francisco Franco.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other current and former political leaders stood outside the parliament building on Monday as the coffin carrying Suarez's body was carried in by soldiers to a slow and solemn drum beat.

His body is to lie in state for 24 hours.

Suarez, who was seen as one the key architects of Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy in the 1970s, died Sunday in a hospital in Madrid. He was 81. He had had Alzheimer's disease for a decade.

Flags across the country were at half-staff as Spain declared three days of mourning.