Spain's new cabinet has more women than men

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Zapatero, seen here with supporters.
Image: Pako Rock.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was today sworn in for his second term as Prime Minister of Spain. He also announced his new cabinet, which for the first time includes more women than men.

Zapatero was sworn in at a brief ceremony in Zarzuela Palace. He took the oath of office with his hand upon a copy of Spain's constitution, which he chose instead of a Bible. "I promise on my conscience and honour to comply faithfully with the obligations of Prime Minister," he said, standing before King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía.

After winning the election on March 9, parliament officially voted Zapatero into the position on Friday. An initial vote on Wednesday failed to pass, but Friday's vote only required a simple majority. Zapatero's Spanish Socialist Workers' Party won the general election, but they fell 7 seats short of an absolute majority in parliament's lower house.

Later, Zapatero announced the members of his new cabinet. Nine of the ministers in his new cabinet are women, and eight of them are men. Carme Chacón, formerly the housing minister, was appointed as Spain's first female defense minister.

"It is the first government in which a woman has the defence portfolio and the first government in which there are more women than men," Zapatero said. "I feel very proud that there are more women ministers than men." María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, who became Spain's first female deputy prime minister in 2004, was reappointed to her position.

Two new ministries will now be a part of the cabinet. Bibiana Aído was named head of the new Equality Ministry. At 31 years old, she is the youngest minister in Spain's history. Molecular biologist Cristina Garmendia will head the new Science and Innovation Ministry.

Zapatero hopes the new cabinet will work to boost the nation's economy, which he says will be one of his top priorities as prime minister. "We must continue to boost the economy and do it in a new way, less dependent on construction," Zapatero said. Miguel Sebastián, Zapatero's former chief economic advisor, was named the new industry minister.

Foreign minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, economy minister Pedro Solbes, interior minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, and justice minister Mariano Fernandez Bermejo all kept their posts, while four other ministers were ousted.

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