April 14. 2024. 6:54

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Spanish prime minister reshuffles cabinet before elections

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a minor reshuffle of his government on Monday- the fifth since he took office – with an eye on the upcoming regional elections due on 28 May.

Sánchez, who has just returned from the Latin-American summit in the Dominican Republic, and travels this week to China, called a press conference early on Monday to explain the details of this “mini-government crisis”.

The socialist politician (PSOE/S&D) appointed his party colleagues Héctor Gómez as the new Industry Minister, replacing Reyes Maroto, and José Manuel Miñones Conde as the new Health Minister, replacing Carolina Darias.

In an official statement at the Moncloa Palace, the seat of the Spanish executive, Sánchez announced that Darias will be PSOE’s candidate for mayor of Las Palmas (Canary Islands) and Maroto the candidate for Madrid’s City Council, currently in the hands of centre-right PartidoPopular (EPP), with the support of centre-liberal Ciudadanos (Citizens/Renew Europe).

“(The new ministers are) two excellent public servants with a flawless track record and a commitment to defending the general interest” to “continue to deepen the major objectives of this legislature”, Sánchez stated.

He explained that among his priorities for the rest of the term, he wants to continue modernising the Spanish economy, “making the most” of the EU Next Generation Funds to create “more and better jobs” and to strengthen public services to “protect Spain’s middle class”.

Both appointments were made public after Sánchez had previously announced them to Spain’s King Felipe VI. The new ministers are expected to be sworn in on Tuesday so that they can join the Council of Ministers on the same day.

In 2018, Sánchez won his investiture, and five days later, he announced the names of his ministers, almost half of them women, with key portfolios. He led the first coalition since Spain returned to democracy after almost 40 years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975).

Spain will hold regional and municipal elections on 28 May, with a general election due in December, in the final month of Madrid’s presidency of the EU Council.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)