New female-dominated Spanish Cabinet sworn in
First-ever female defence minister applauds "military's integration into society".15 April 2008
MADRID - The 17 ministers who will form the second-term administration of Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero took the oath of office on Monday, assuming their roles in a government that is set to face pressing economic challenges over the coming months.
In a ceremony steeped in tradition at the royal Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, the ministers pledged on a copy of the Constitution to fulfil their duties. They include old hands from Zapatero's last administration, as well as several new faces, notably the heads of two new ministries covering science and technology and equality.
For the first time in history, the Cabinet includes more women than men as well as the country's first female defence minister, Carme Chacon, who had served as housing minister in Zapatero's first government.
Chacon said that the fact that a woman has been given the defence portfolio reflects "the military's integration into society".
"No other institution has done such a good job of adapting to the changes in society," Chacon said after accepting the portfolio from her predecessor, José Antonio Alonso, who will now become the Socialist Party's spokesman in Congress.
However, in the current economic climate the spotlight will turn to economy minister Pedro Soles when the government gets down to business in a Cabinet meeting on Friday, where it is expected to approve a EUR 10-billion economic stimulus package.
[El Pais / A. E. / Expatica]