Ma­jor­ity of women in charge of new Span­ish govern­ment

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

SPAIN’S new So­cial­ist govern­ment an­nounced Wed­nes­day a fe­male-dom­i­nated Cab­i­net, in­clud­ing women ap­pointed to key po­si­tions over­see­ing the na­tional econ­omy, fi­nance and de­fense.

The new govern­ment in­cludes 11 fe­male min­is­ters and five men, as well as Prime Min­is­ter Pe­dro Sanchez who said it is the first time since Spain re­turned to a demo­cratic sys­tem in the late 1970s that there are more women than men in the Cab­i­net.

Na­dia Calvino, who has been di­rec­tor gen­eral for the bud­get at the Euro­pean Union’s Com­mis­sion since 2014, was ap­pointed as the min­is­ter in charge of the eu­ro­zone’s fourth largest econ­omy.

Mar­garita Rob­les was named de­fense min­is­ter, and Maria Je­sus Mon­tero will be fi­nance min­is­ter. The posts of jus­tice min­is­ter and ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter also went to women.

Sanchez in­formed King Felipe VI of the ap­point­ments be­fore an­nounc­ing them. The new min­is­ters are to take of­fice on Thurs­day.

Sanchez said in a state­ment his ad­min­is­tra­tion will be “pro­gres­sive, mod­ernising and Europe-minded.”

Sanchez on Fri­day won a no con­fi­dence vote in the govern­ment of Mar­i­ano Ra­joy, prime min­is­ter since 2011, fol­low­ing a cor­rup­tion scan­dal in­volv­ing sev­eral for­mer mem­bers of the con­ser­va­tive Pop­u­lar Party.

Pe­dro Duque, an en­gi­neer and the first Spa­niard in space, wel­comed in a se­ries of tweets his ap­point­ment as min­is­ter of sci­ence, innovation and uni­ver­si­ties.

Duque is a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Space Agency and has taken part in sev­eral mis­sions, in­clud­ing a 10-day flight on board the Dis­cov­ery shut­tle in 1998, and an­other 10-day visit to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion on a Rus­sian­designed space­craft.

The no. 2 in the new govern­ment will be Car­men Calvo, an ex­pert on con­sti­tu­tional law and min­is­ter of cul­ture be­tween 2004 and 2007. She will be deputy prime min­is­ter and also in charge of a res­ur­rected Min­istry for Equal­ity.

The push for Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence, which haunted Ra­joy dur­ing the last eight months of the out­go­ing govern­ment, will be one of the key chal­lenges of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Mer­itx­ell Batet, a Cata­lan law­maker and le­gal ex­pert on the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion, will be charged with deal­ing with Cat­alo­nia’s de­sire for fur­ther autonomy as the new min­is­ter of public ad­min­is­tra­tion. The pre­vi­ously an­nounced ap­point­ment of Josep Bor­rell, the for­mer Euro­pean Par­lia­ment pres­i­dent and a pro-span­ish unity Cata­lan politi­cian, as for­eign min­is­ter, irked some sep­a­ratists.

Sanchez has promised to open talks with a new re­gional cab­i­net in the pros­per­ous north­east­ern re­gion, but has said that any so­lu­tion must fit within Spain’s Con­sti­tu­tion, which calls the na­tion “in­di­vis­i­ble” and says na­tional sovereignty re­sides in the Madrid­based par­lia­ment.

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