Spanish president Pedro Sánchez reshuffles cabinet
Miquel Iceta now culture and sports minister and mayor of Gavà becomes transport minister
Spanish president Pedro Sánchez has carried out a major cabinet reshuffle, replacing seven ministers and increasing the presence of Catalan politicians as well as of women. The average age of ministers has also decreased to 50.
Affecting members of the Socialist party and not coalition partners Podemos, Miquel Iceta, the former head of the Catalan branch (PSC) turned territorial policy minister will now be Spain's culture and sports minister, taking over from Juan Manuel Rodríguez Uribes.
This comes five months after Iceta first entered the cabinet after former Spanish health minister, Salvador Illa, left Madrid to run in the Catalan election for the Socialists.
Another Catalan will be entering the cabinet: Raquel Sánchez, the mayor of the coastal town of Gavà, will take over José Luis Ábalos as the minister for transport, mobility, and urban agenda.
Second vice president Carmen Calvo, who disagreed with other ministers on matters including the trans' rights draft law or on the pardons for Catalonia's independence leaders, will be leaving the cabinet.
Justice minister Juan Carlos Campo, foreign affairs minister Arancha González Laya, science minister Pedro Duque, and education minister Isabel Celaá will also be parting ways with Pedro Sánchez.
Pedro Sánchez has confirmed that senate president Pilar Llop will become justice minister; José Manuel Albares will be the foreign affairs minister; Pilar Alegría is the new education minister; Félix Bolaños has been named the presidency minister; Isabel Rodríguez de García will be the new spokesperson and territorial policy minister; while Diana Morant Ripoll will be the new science minister.
Additionally, Óscar López will be taking over Iván Redondo's position as cabinet chief.
The president has already met with King Felipe VI of Spain to inform him of these changes, which will take effect on Monday before the new ministers participate in their first cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Opposition: 'The problem is Pedro Sánchez'
Opposition parties pounced at the opportunity to highlight the political crisis Sánchez's party is currently facing.
Both the conservative People's Party, headed by Pablo Casado, and Inés Arrimadas' Ciudadanos called for Sánchez to step down.
"The problem isn't the ministers, it's the president," PP congressional spokesperson Cuca Gamarra said. "A few months ago we were told the issue was Pablo Iglesias; he left but the problem remained. The problem is Pedro Sánchez."
These complaints were echoed by Arrimadas at a party event in Barcelona: "The person who needs to exit the government is Pedro Sánchez."
Left-wing Esquerra Republicana stressed the importance of moving forward with Spanish-Catalan government talks on the independence issue, "regardless of who is on the other side of the table."
Formerly imprisoned Dolors Bassa, speaking from an event in Tàrrega, said she believed the new ministers would still represent "the State's views."