July 25, 2021

In Spain, Sanchez reshuffles his government ahead of the 2023 elections

Mid-term, Socialist Pedro Sanchez decided to breathe new life into his government by announcing, Saturday, July 10, a major reshuffle. Seven ministers leave: those of foreign affairs, justice, education, transport, culture, science and the presidency.

Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya, who was at the heart of the recent diplomatic and migration crisis with Morocco (following the decision to welcome Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali to Spain to treat him for Covid- 19), is replaced by the current Spanish Ambassador to France, José Manuel Albares. Aged 49, this seasoned diplomat, former “sherpa” of Mr. Sanchez, is married to the French Hélène Davo, counsel for justice at the Elysee.

The Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, at the origin of the pardon of the Catalan independence leaders (a very controversial decision, to which a majority of Spaniards opposed), is replaced by the current president of the Senate, Pilar Llop, judge specializing in gender violence. The reshuffle spares the ministers of the coalition partner, Podemos (far left), which maintains its five portfolios unchanged.

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With this new team, the head of the Spanish executive hopes to slow down the erosion of power, confirmed by the polls, after three years at the head of the government, and thus reunite the different families of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), torn since the internal primaries of 2017. With, in sight, the legislative, municipal and regional elections of 2023.

“Mark a break”

“After the worst of the pandemic, the main task of the new government will be to consolidate economic recovery and job creation and to manage the enormous opportunity represented by the funds of the European recovery plan to modernize and strengthen our economy” , Sanchez said in an unexpected televised address, before emphasizing the rejuvenation and feminization of the executive. The average age drops from 55 to 50 years, and women represent 63% of the cabinet, against 54% previously.

“Sanchez wants to mark a break with the first phase of the legislature, centered on the pandemic and the economic crisis, to start a new stage, with less technical and technocratic profiles, for the benefit of others more political and ideological,” underlines the Spanish political analyst Edu Bayon.

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