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Thatcher, Margaret

(1925-2013) British prime minister. A research chemist and lawyer by training, she was elected as a Conservative to Parliament in 1959 and served as minister of education and science (197 ™0-74). Elected party leader in 1975, she became prime minister in 1979. Her privatization of state-owned industries and her assault on the welfare state marked a turning point in postwar Britain. British victory in the Falklands War (1982) improved her popularity and, following re-election in 1983, she crushed British trade unionism by breaking the miners' strike of 1984-85. Her foreign policy was marked by close relations with the USA and USSR. Elected again in 1987 after an economic boom, she became more unpopular than ever for introducing a poll tax. She resigned in 1990 when her ministers refused to support her opposition to the European Union.


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