Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Low turnout in Algerian election tipped to return Bouteflika

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton says she is pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

Europe

Zapatero reorganises cabinet amid economic woes

©

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-20

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero reshuffled his cabinet Wednesday, notably renaming the interior minister as deputy prime minister, in an effort to combat a massive debt crisis and revive his government’s sliding popularity.

REUTERS - Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero overhauled his cabinet on Wednesday, aiming to strengthen his unpopular government while battling to tame a massive public deficit and revive a stagnant economy.

 
Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, who has a high approval rating and is seen by some as a successor to Zapatero, becomes the new deputy prime minister in the biggest reshuffle since the Socialists came to power in 2004.
 
"It's time for another kind of political action, a different direction and drive from the government," Zapatero said in a speech announcing five cabinet changes on top of Rubalcaba assuming the extra role, and the closure of two ministries.
 
Spaniards suffering budget cutbacks, salary reductions and the highest unemployment rate in the euro zone have punished the government, whose approval ratings have sunk below 30 percent.
 
Zapatero recently wrapped up deals with two minority parties to pass a 2011 budget with deep spending cuts, aimed at assuring investors that Spain can trim its deficit which ballooned out of control after stimulus measures to stave off a grim recession.
 
If he had not found the votes he could have faced early elections, which polls show he would lose by almost 15 percentage points to the centre-right Popular Party. His term is scheduled to end in 2012.
 
Heir apparent
 
Rubalcaba heads the government campaign against Basque separatist group ETA, which is widely seen as successful due to a string of arrests of the group's leaders.
 
"He's the heir apparent," said Pedro Schwartz, an economist at San Pablo University in Madrid. "He's intelligent and efficient and he does reinforce the government."
 
Zapatero made no changes at the Economy Ministry, run by Elena Salgado, who implemented the tough austerity measures brought in after investors punished Spain's sovereign debt on concerns the country was moving toward a Greek-style bailout.
 
Any changes in the Economy Ministry at this difficult time could create uncertainty and spook financial markets, said Luis Miguel Doncel, economy professor at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid.
 
The 2011 budget slashes ministry spending and includes tax increases to reduce one of the euro zone's largest public deficits to 6 percent of gross domestic product next year from 11 percent last year.
 
The government has stuck with its austerity plan even while recognising that spending cuts will make it hard for economic recovery to take off.
 
The economy is expected to grow only 0.4 percent next year, according to experts surveyed by Reuters, well below the official forecast of 1.3 percent.
 
Although spending cuts have hurt the government's popularity at home, they have boosted confidence among investors who now view Spain as less risky than peripheral euro zone economies such as Portugal and Ireland.
 
Spain's 10-year bono spread over the equivalent German bund -- a key indicator of investment risk -- widened to around 170 basis points from 164 basis points on Wednesday before shrinking back to around 162 bps, less than half that of Ireland.
 
In other changes Trinidad Jimenez will be Spain's new foreign minister, leaving her post as health minister. Outgoing Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is respected in European and Middle Eastern diplomatic circles, but has weak ratings at home.
 
As expected, Zapatero replaced his labour minister, Celestino Corbacho.
Corbacho said after pushing through labour market reforms which have angered unions that he would step down to return to local politics in his home region of Catalonia. The replacement is economist Valeriano Gomez.
 
Zapatero also said he was dissolving the ministries of equality and housing as part of cost cuts.

 

Date created : 2010-10-20

  • SPAIN

    Spanish unions hail strike success after causing transport chaos

    Read more

  • SPAIN

    ETA prepared to bow to demands for permanent ceasefire

    Read more

  • SPAIN

    Stimulus move set to shake up market

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)