Barely a year after winning the general election, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has already reshuffled his cabinet.
Zapatero said he wanted a “change of rhythm” to fight the recession which has already hit Spain hard. With this in mind, he has given Elena Salgado the job of Economy Minister previously held by Pedro Solbes. Formerly public administration minister, she is a little-known quantity for finance. Speaking after the new Cabinet was sworn in by King Juan Carlos, Zapatero told reporters the evolving political context and economic situation in Spain meant fresh impetus was needed. He added that the start of next year would be particularly important, as this marks the beginning of Madrid’s six-month stint at the helm of the EU. As European Economic Affairs Commissioner, Pedro Solbes was the man responsible for introducing the Euro in 12 EU states in January 2002. “This is an explicit admission of the fact that the leader of the government has failed, both in the team he put together and his policies.” said the leader of the opposition, Mariano Rajoy. Spain went into its first recession in 15 years at the end of 2008, as the global financial crisis worsened a correction that was already underway in the housing market. In addition, the country’s unemployment rate hit 15.5 percent earlier this year.