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Spain's new cabinet is sworn in

Spain's new cabinet is sworn in
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By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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Opposition parties say Mariano Rajoy's new team shows no sign of being open to the dialogue his minority government will need to survive.

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The new cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been sworn in.

Rajoy unveiled his new team on Thursday night.

Six new ministers have been brought in.

However, there was strong criticism from opposition leaders.

They say the new team shows no sign of being open to the dialogue Rajoy’s minority government will need to survive.

The new cabinet

The conservative Rajoy named a new, younger 13-member cabinet, including five women, for his second term.

He won a parliamentary confidence vote last Saturday, ending 10 months of political paralysis that included two inconclusive elections.

The opposition says the lineup will pursue the same austerity policies as before.

Rajoy has promised negotiations to win support for his legislation.

Jura o promesa de los Ministros del nuevo Gobierno de España ante S.M. el Rey Felipe VI. Un honor contar con todos ellos pic.twitter.com/hKZsAfLnDs

— Mariano Rajoy Brey (@marianorajoy) November 4, 2016

Who is in and who is out

Rajoy retained trusted confidants like Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, who will take charge of relations with Spain’s autonomous regions.

He gave an expanded role to Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, handing him the industry portfolio as well.

Cristobal Montoro is kept on as budget minister, dashing expectations that he might create a single, powerful economy and finance ministry.

As Defence Minister, PP Secretary-General Maria Dolores de Cospedal has been given a cabinet post for the first time.

Boosting Spain in a Brexit Brussels?

Rajoy has replaced 72-year-old Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo with Alfonso Dastis, Spain’s ambassador to the EU.

Insiders say this reflects Madrid’s wish to play a more prominent role on the European stage at a time when there will be negotiations on Britain’s exit from the bloc.

The cabinet is drawn mainly from Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP), with no gesture like appointing a true independent.

Spain's Rajoy forms new EU-looking government https://t.co/Kirr4jTm5h

— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 3, 2016

The business

De Guindos is generally respected by his counterparts abroad.

He steered Spain out of recession and into a strong recovery during Rajoy’s first term.

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The 2017 budget will be one of the new government’s top priorities.

Spain is the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy.

It needs to shrink its budget deficit to 3.1% of output in 2017 from an expected 4.6% this year to meet targets agreed with Brussels.

That may require five billion euros of spending cuts or higher taxes.

27 cosas que no sabías de Luis de Guindos https://t.co/eorQFR6Tds

— El Huffington Post (@ElHuffPost) November 3, 2016

The problem

Unless it can get parties like the Socialists on board, Rajoy’s government will have problems passing its budget and other laws.

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Analysts say it may not survive a full term.

What political backing does Rajoy have?

He will be able to count on backing from the liberal Ciudadanos (Citizens) party, the fourth-largest group in the parliament.

There are 150 previously-agreed measures to tackle political corruption and reform of the electoral system.

However, even with the backing of Ciudadanos, Rajoy’s PP lacks a majority.

.MGutierrezCs</a> "Cuanto antes formaremos equipos de trabajo para poner en marcha las medidas de las 150 exigencias C&#39;s" <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LDMiguelGutierrez?src=hash">#LDMiguelGutierrez</a> <a href="https://t.co/eoiAoDPS4J">pic.twitter.com/eoiAoDPS4J</a></p>&mdash; Ciudadanos (CiudadanosCs) November 4, 2016

All views – what they say in Spain

Consuelo Maldonado from Euronews Spanish language team says the government will manage to survive if it can calm the conservative policies and rhetoric which clash with the views of the liberal centre party, Ciudadanos.

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Ciudadanos have given conditional support for the government in certain areas.

What they are saying

“It is a government that is not qualified for dialogue,” – Socialist spokesman Mario Jiminez.

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