Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has made a far-reaching reshuffle of his cabinet as the ruling socialists seek to regain the initiative after a series of setbacks on the political, economic and diplomatic fronts.
In a larger-than-expected reconfiguration of the government, Sanchez has promoted Nadia Calvino, Spain’s economy minister, to his new number two, as several prominent government figures have left their posts.
In an address to the nation, Sanchez announced the formation of what he described as the new government that will focus on economic recovery and the use of 140 billion euros in the European Union. funds That Spain hopes to help it recover from the ravages of the pandemic – which the government hopes will help restore its fortunes.
“The recovery government begins today to overcome the worst disaster in decades,” he said. He added that the change involved a “generational renewal,” with the average age of ministers dropping from 55 to 50, and the proportion of women rising from 54 to 63 percent.
Among those leaving the alliance are Carmen Calvo, Sanchez’s main deputy to date – a position Calvino would hold – as well as Secretary of State Arancha Gonzalez, Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and strategist Ivan Redondo, and Jose Luis Abalos, a veteran socialist who served as Minister of Transportation.
The new foreign minister will be Jose Manuel Alparís, a former Sanchez adviser who is now ambassador to France, who prides himself on his diplomatic experience and closeness to the prime minister.
The promotion of Calvino – a former senior European Commission official – means she will chair cabinet meetings in Sanchez’s absence.
“This move confirms her status as an essential part of this government. “It is also a signal to markets and Brussels to their commitment to economic orthodoxy,” said Pablo Simon, professor of politics at Carlos III University in Madrid.
But he added that the cabinet reshuffle “was practically trying to remake the government from scratch”, less than halfway through Parliament’s four-year term.
The socialists have fallen behind Center Right People’s Party In the polls in the wake of a devastating defeat in Madrid Regional elections. It also comes after a diplomatic crisis with Morocco, which in May briefly allowed thousands of migrants to cross into the Spanish enclave. Ceuta.
Spain’s GDP has shrunk as a result of the pandemic more than any other major economy, and it shrank by 10.8 percent last year.
The country’s economic prospects have been further diminished by the fifth wave of coronavirus in the country, which last week pushed the infection rate to the Middle East. The highest in continental EuropeThis puts the tourist season at risk.
In normal times, tourism generates 12 percent of Spain’s GDP and 13 percent of jobs, with July and August playing a large role, but last week Germany and France warned their citizens not to travel to the country.
Among other changes, the cabinet reshuffle replaced the heads of the ministries of education, justice, science and culture, and appointed government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez.
Simon argued that not only were many ministries changed, but that the four great officials who coordinated policy under Sanchez – among them Calvo, Redondo and Appalos – have now left their posts.
The fourth in that group, Pablo Iglesias, former leader of Podemos, partner of the Radical Socialists in the Left Coalition, left politics After finishing fifth in the Madrid elections.
He had previously been replaced as Deputy Prime Minister by Yolanda Diaz, the Spanish Communist Action Minister. The five Podemos ministers were not part of Saturday’s reshuffle.
Spanish opposition parties responded to the changes by calling Sánchez, not his ministers, the problem, and calling for elections.