Sánchez picks a cabinet of deal-makers to navigate tensions in Spain

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has unveiled his new coalition cabinet, bringing on board regional Socialist leaders alongside ministers from his previous term.

Sánchez said that he had chosen ministers with a talent for “managing, but also for reaching agreements and explaining them to the public.” In a fractious political atmosphere, and with no overall majority for Sánchez, these skills will be vital if the government is to succeed.

The Socialist leader heads a minority, coalition administration which will need to gain the support of a variety of far-left and separatist parties in Spain’s hyper-fractured parliament to pass any laws.

Women occupy all four of the deputy prime minister positions in the gender-balanced cabinet, which Sánchez said reflected a government committed to feminist progress.

Nadia Calviño remains deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy but is widely expected to step down in the coming weeks if her nomination for the presidency of the European Investment Bank is successful. Her possible replacement could be another deputy prime minister, María Jesús Montero, who oversees the finance portfolio.

The other deputies are Yolanda Díaz, who heads the far-left Sumar group with whom Sánchez’s Socialists are sharing power, and Teresa Ribera, who remains minister for the ecological transition.

Ribera — a former U.N. climate negotiator — has been a mainstay of Sánchez’s governments since he took office in 2018. Like Calviño, however, she could leave Madrid for an EU post: The minister is seen as an especially strong Spanish candidate for the next Commission, in which she would be a shoo-in for a Green Deal-type post.

Félix Bolaños, one of Sánchez’s closest allies, remains minister for the presidency but also takes on the justice portfolio. Having overseen the drafting of the controversial Catalan amnesty bill, Bolaños has the tough mission of ensuring the legislation makes it through parliament and survives its inevitable challenges in the courts.

Díaz’s Sumar group holds five ministries. Anesthesiologist and Madrid assembly member Mónica García has been given the health portfolio and is expected to promote measures aimed at stopping the privatization of Spain’s healthcare system.

Green MEP Ernest Urtasun, who was Sumar’s spokesperson during the campaign, will lead the culture ministry. European Left MEP Sira Rego, who is a Palestinian descendent and has been critical of Israel’s attacks on Gaza, takes on the children and youth portfolio.

The new government does not include any members of the far-left Podemos party, whose leaders have clashed with Díaz on repeated occasions. The group’s exclusion from the cabinet may create rifts in Spain’s parliament, where Podemos has threatened to break with the government and oppose its legislation.

The post Sánchez picks a cabinet of deal-makers to navigate tensions in Spain appeared first on Politico.

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