Zapatero dismisses 'crisis' claims after minister quits

7th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 April 2006, MADRID — José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero shrugged off claims of a governmental crisis after the defence minister resigned "to spend more time with his family".

7 April 2006

MADRID — José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero shrugged off claims of a governmental crisis after the defence minister resigned "to spend more time with his family".

José Bono, who is a veteran Socialist party stalwart, resigned and his post has been taken by the interior minister, José Antonio Alonso.

It later emerged Bono had asked three months earlier to leave government "for personal reasons".

He denied he had been forced out.

Zapatero said Bono would not be retiring from frontline politics for good.

The new interior minister will be Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, who has been the spokesman for the Socialist party in parliament.

Rubalcaba is regarded as one of Zapatero's strongest supporters and a ruthless political operator.

His main role will be to help guide the peace process after ETA declared a permanent ceasefire over two weeks ago.

Zapatero has also moved María Jesús San Segundo to education where she is to replace Mercedes Cabrera Calvo-Sotelo.

Zapatero paid tribute to both Bono and San Segundo.

The former education minister has had to steer the controversial education reform, approved on Thursday, through parliament.

The new Organic Law of Education has faced opposition from the conservative Popular Party and the Church because it is to make religious studies an optional, not a compulsory, subject.

But students and teachers' unions have also demonstrated against the changes it will introduce as they claim it will lower the quality of teaching.

Cabrera is presently the president of the congressional educational commission.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news 

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