SPANISH Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a cabinet reshuffle on Saturday promoting more women into ministerial positions.

The new appointments include a new deputy prime minister, foreign minister and justice minister.

The Socialist prime minister said the reorganisation would focus on Spain’s economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we put the pandemic behind us, the new government will focus on the economic recovery of the country and the creation of jobs, and taking full advantage of the enormous opportunity the European Union recover funds represent,” Sanchez said.

Nadia Calviño will retain her portfolio as Economy Minister but gains a promotion to First Deputy Prime Minister replacing Carmen Calvo who leaves in the wake of a tug-of-war with Equality Minister Irene Montero of junior coalition partner United We Can over the wording of a new draft law that will allow gender self-determination.

One of the surprise changes was Arancha Gonzales Laya who was stripped of her position as Foreign Minister.

She has faced recent criticism over her handling of a diplomatic crisis with Morocco following her decision to allow Brahm Ghali, the leader of disputed Western Sahara, to be treated in a Spanish hospital.

Jose Manuel Albares, the current ambassador in Paris, will take over the role of Foreign Minister.

The prime minister’s chief of staff and strategist Iván Redondo will also leave the government to be replaced by Oscar Lopez, a member of the Socialist Party,

While Isabel Rodriguez will become the new government spokesperson and territories minister.

The shake-up also sees the departure of Juan Campo as Justice Minister just weeks after he approved the pardon of nine jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders.

Judge Pilar Llop will leave the presidency of the Senate to take over the portfolio while Miquel Iceta, who was in talks with the Catalan regional government, will become Culture Minister.

The reshuffle does not affect the five members of Unidas Podemos, a minority partner in the coalition government, who will retain the same positions.

The average age of the new team is 50-years-old down from 55, and the proportion of women increased to 63% from 54%.

“This will make our country once again the reference for women-men equality,” Sanchez said.

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