Madrid, Jul 10 (EFE).- Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday unveiled a thorough reshuffle of his cabinet, swapping out heavyweight ministers in the fields of foreign affairs and justice while boosting the representation of women and reducing the average age of the government.
“The new government involves, firstly, a generational renovation, the average age of the previous executive was 55 years and in the new government it will be 50 years,” Sánchez said in a televised address setting out the changes.
“The new government will further strengthen the presence of women in charge of the ministries, before the share was 54% and today it is 63%, which will once again mean our country sets an example in gender equality,” he added.
The prime minister said the new government’s focus would be to overcome the economic challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sánchez government is led by his Socialist Party (PSOE) with junior left-wing partner Unidas Podemos.
As part of the changes, foreign affairs minister Arancha González Laya, who was recently tested by Spain’s diplomatic spat with Morocco, was replaced by Manuel Albares, who was the Spanish ambassador to France.
The first deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo, a pillar of the Sánchez government, was replaced by a promoted Nadia Calviño, retains her post as minister of economic affairs and digital transformation.
Pedro Duque, an astronaut who led the Ministry of Science and Innovation, was replaced by Diana Morant.
Juan Carlos Campo was dropped from the Ministry of Justice in favor of Pilar Llop while Isabel Celaá was replaced at the Ministry of Education by Pilar Alegría.
José Luis Ábalos was dropped from the Ministry of Transport to make way for Raquel Sánchez while Miquel Iceta, the leader of the Socialist Party’s Catalonia branch during the fallout of the illegal independence referendum in 2017, was moved to the Ministry of Sport and Culture.
Félix Bolaños was promoted to lead the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Cortes and Democratic Memory, a title that Calvo also lost.
Yolanda Díaz, the leader of Unidas Podemos, was promoted to second deputy prime minister, replacing Pablo Iglesias, the former party chief who retired from active politics this year.
This was Sánchez’s first major cabinet reshuffle since his second government was launched in 2020 and the first changes to take place following the departure of Salvador Illa as health minister and Iglesias.
Government sources said the reshuffle aimed to politically strengthen the executive before the next legislative session and comes after Sánchez pardoned nine Catalan politicians and activists jailed for their involvement in the illegal referendum and subsequent declaration of independence. EFE