Canalejas y Méndez, José, 1854-1912, Spanish politician. After holding several cabinet posts, he became premier in 1910. A democratic radical who hoped to reform the Liberal party, Canalejas entered office with a dynamic program that included curbing the power of the religious orders and breaking up the large estates. His firm measures against labor unrest alienated many of his left-wing supporters. Frequently regarded as the most promising liberal statesman of early 20th-century Spain, his career was cut short when he was assassinated by an anarchist.