Zapatero Shakes Up Spanish Cabinet


From Raphael Minder, the New York Times:  Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Wednesday announced a government reshuffle that included the abolition of two ministries and the appointment of a new foreign minister.

Mr. Zapatero was due to make an adjustment in his team because of the previously announced departure of his labor minister, Celestino Corbacho, who is preparing to campaign in regional elections in Catalonia next month.

But the realignment on Wednesday went beyond expectations, with Mr. Zapatero reassigning six portfolios, as well as scrapping two smaller ministries — one responsible for gender equality issues and the other housing — as part of his cost-cutting efforts. The two ministries will instead become departments within larger ministries. …

Another key switch was that of Trinidad Jiménez, the health minister, who will replace Miguel Ángel Moratinos as foreign minister. Ms. Jiménez is regaining prominence only weeks after suffering an embarrassing defeat in a Madrid party election, in which she stood at the request of Mr. Zapatero against a local Socialist politician.

Mr. Zapatero’s approval ratings have recently fallen below 30 percent on the back of Spain’s economic downturn. Still, he managed to strike deals with two minority parties to guarantee parliamentary approval this week for a 2011 budget that includes massive spending cuts in order to allay fears among investors about Spain’s budget deficit.  (photo: Reuters)

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