The new Catalan Ministers
Artur Mas has finally decided upon the composition of his government. Mas waited to swear office and officially become President of the Catalan Government to make public his ministers’ names. Harvard and Berkeley professor Andreu Mas-Colell will be the Economy and Universities Minister. ESADE professor and international consultant, Francesc Xavier Mena will be in charge of Business and Employment. Socialist Ferran Mascarell accepted Mas’ offer to become the next Culture Minister. The Christian-Democrats hold the Vice Presidency and responsibilities on Public Administration, Relations with Spain, Agriculture and the Environment.
Barcelona (ACN).- The new Catalan Government will be composed of a president, a vice president, 10 ministers, and 2 secretaries. The government will include representatives of the 2 parties forming the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (Convergència i Unió [CiU]): the Liberal and Centrist Party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), the largest party in the CiU, and the Christian-Democratic party Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC), the smallest party. There will be 8 representatives of the CDC: Mas, 5 ministers and the 2 secretaries, Mas\u2019 right-hand men. There will be 2 representatives from the UDC and another 3 will not be members of any political party. In addition, one will be a member of the Catalan Socialist Party, the main opposition party. The new government, which will comprise 3 women and 11 men, will take office and meet for the first time on Wednesday, 29 December.
Two close collaborators of the new president will hold key positions in the new Government. They will not be ministers but secretaries; however, they will be in charge of government coordination and functionality. Artur Mas is positioning his right-hand man and the CiU\u2019s ideologist, Francesc Homs, as Secretary General for the Presidency, in charge of Government coordination. Homs will be Artur Mas\u2019 closest collaborator within the Government. Another key player will be the CDC manager, Germà Gordó. Gordó will be the Government\u2019s Secretary, responsible for preparing the Government\u2019s meetings, ensuring that it functions effectively and that decisions are implemented. However, the most visible faces of the Government are going to be the Vice President, Joana Ortega, and the 10 ministers, a part from Artur Mas.
The Vice President and the 10 ministers of the new Catalan Government are the following:
- Vice President. Responsible for Public Administration and Institutional Relations: Joana Ortega, from the UDC. She was CiU number 2 in the last elections. She is a UDC vice-president, in charge of communications. Ortega will be responsible for the Catalan Public Administration staff and structure. She will also negotiate with the Spanish Government on competence devolution, together with the UDC leader, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the CiU\u2019s Spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament.
- Justice: Pilar Fernández Bozal, independent. She is not a public figure. She is the senior-most representative in Catalonia of the Spanish State\u2019s Lawyer Corps. She is an expert in the relations between Catalonia and Spain.
- Home affairs: Felip Puig, from the CDC. He was Minister for the Environment (1999-2001) and for Public Works (2001-2003). He is the CDC\u2019s Deputy Secretary General, in charge of party discipline. He also acts as party spokesperson.
- Economy and Universities: Andreu Mas-Colell, from the CDC but with an independent profile, former Minister for Universities (1999-2003). He is an internationally-recognised expert in microeconomics and was professor at both Harvard and Berkeley. Now, he is the director of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Graduate School. He will define the main economic policies, to include those relating to innovation and universities. He will also be in charge of the budget.
- Business and Employment: Francesc Xavier Mena, independent. He is a professor at the prestigious ESADE business school, where he directed several Masters degrees, as well as the economics department. He is an expert in managerial economics, as well as law applied to business. He also has a wide and international experience in the private sector. He will be in charge of creating a business-friendly environment and of employment policies
- Public Works, Territorial Policy and Sustainability: Lluís Recoder, from the CDC. He is the current mayor of Sant Cugat del Vallès, a residential city near Barcelona. This lawyer is currently seen as the CDC candidate most capable of challenging Mas in the future. Recoder is regarded as a rigorous and moderate politician. He will be in charge of infrastructure, transport, regional policies and social housing.
- Agriculture and Environment: Josep María Pelegrí, from the UDC, former Minister for Public Administration (2002-2003). He is the Secretary General of the UDC. In his early political career, in the 1990s, he worked in municipal politics. He joined the Catalan Government in secondary positions, relating to the environment. He will be in charge of agriculture, fishing and environmental policies.
- Culture: Ferran Mascarell, member of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). He was former Minister for Culture in the left-wing Government in 2006. He made his political career in Barcelona\u2019s City Council, and was responsible for the city\u2019s cultural affairs. He is an expert in cultural industries and is on the board of the Editing House, RBA, in charge of the audiovisual department.
- Education: Irene Rigau, from the CDC. She was the Catalan Minister for Social Welfare and Family (from 1999 to 2003). She has a wide experience in politics and issues pertaining to education. This psychologist will be in charge of Catalonia\u2019s primary and secondary schools.
- Health: Boi Ruiz, independent. He is the current chairman of the hospitals\u2019 association of Catalonia, the health business-owners association. He will bring private sector experience to the public health system, which represents the largest portion of the Catalan budget and has financing problems.
- Social Welfare and Family: Josep Lluís Cleries, from the CDC. He comes from the Catholic sphere as well as the scouting and volunteer world, to which he has been linked for decades. He also has previous governing experience in secondary positions in the area. Within the CDC, he was in charge of social welfare policies. He will be responsible for the implementation of dependency law, social protection and family policies.
CNA will be publishing detailed profiles of each minister and key personalities of the new Government over the next days.
* news updated on the 28th of December at 13.30