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The new cabinet poses outside the PM's official La Moncloa residence in Madrid on Wednesday this week. EFE
New government gets down to work in Spain faced with a challenging parliament
Politics

New government gets down to work in Spain faced with a challenging parliament

PM Sánchez has kept his PSOE and Sumar coalition cabinet the same size with many familiar faces but there is now no Podemos minister left

Neil Hesketh

Madrid

Friday, 24 November 2023, 17:28

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The Socialist-led new cabinet of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez started work this week. Following Sánchez winning the investiture vote in Congreso last week, his choice of ministers were sworn in and the provisional acting government since the general election in July formally ended.

Despite rumours Sánchez would reduce the size of his cabinet, in the end he has continued with 22 ministers and many familiar faces in the same roles. These include Nadia Calviño, minister for Economy and first deputy PM, and José Albares as foreign minister.

Montero and Belarra blow out.
Montero and Belarra blow out. EFE

Generating most comment was the appointment of Sánchez's right-hand man, Félix Bolaños, as minister for Justice. Bolaños has also kept his responsibilities for both the prime minister's own department and relations with parliament. The move was seen as Sánchez concentrating key powers around himself in what is expected to be a difficult period, negotiating a way through his controversial planned amnesty law for Catalan political rebels and keeping happy the MPs of the smaller parties he needs to win votes.

While a coalition cabinet continues with the hard-left grouping of Sumar (formerly in government as Unidas Podemos) and Sumar's leader, Yolanda Díaz, stays on as minister for Work, there is now no minister from the radical Podemos party after they fell out of favour. Irene Montero and Ione Bellara of Podemos were defiant as they left their ministerial roles on Tuesday. Blaming Sánchez, Montero said they were being removed for "doing what they promised to do".

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