Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu (born March 15, 1957) is a Basque politician. A leading member of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), he has been President (lehendakari) of Spain's Basque Country autonomous community since January 2, 1999.
He was born in Llodio in the province of Álava, and holds a degree in Economics from the University of the Basque Country. In 1983 he was elected a member of the Basque Parliament for Llodio, representing the PNV, and from then on rose steadily to prominence. From 1986-1990 and 1991-1994 he was the President of the PNV Economic and Budgetary Commission. On January 4, 1995 then Basque President José Antonio Ardanza appointed him Vice President. He was nominated PNV presidential candidate on March 28, 1998 to compete in the October 25 Basque election and became President on January 2, 1999. In October 2003 he released the highly controversial Ibarretxe Plan (Plan Ibarretxe), which foresees a future Basque country 'freely associated' with Spain, with its own separate legal system and European Union (EU) representation. Javier Solana, the Spanish EU foreign policy chief said in February 2005 that the plan had no place within the proposed EU constitution.
Ibarretxe grew up speaking only Spanish, but now speaks fluent Basque and English. He is an avid cycling fan and has presided over a cycling club in Llodio. He is married to Begoña Arregui, with whom he has two children.