Spanish parliament condemns minister for the first time
The Spanish senate has requested the resignation of Infrastructure Minister Magdalena Alvarez.
19 December 2007
MADRID - The Spanish senate has requested the resignation of Infrastructure Minister Magdalena Alvarez in the first such act by a chamber of parliament since Spain became a democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, radio reports said Wednesday.
The upper house of parliament approved the motion late Tuesday with the votes of the opposition conservative Popular Party (PP), which has a majority in the senate.
Alvarez is accused of poor maintenance of the rail network in Barcelona, where train services have been suspended and entire lines temporarily closed, affecting thousands of commuters over the recent months.
The Catalan regional parliament had also condemned the management of Alvarez, but the lower house of the Spanish parliament rejected a similar proposal by only two votes.
The minister irritated critics with her imperturbable manner and constant smile in the face of fault-finding.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was not expected to sack Alvarez, because that would force him to reshuffle the cabinet only three months before the general elections in March.
[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Spanish news