Catholics dominate Aznar cabinet in Spain

Spain's new Popular Party ministers swore an oath of allegiance to King Juan Carlos yesterday, before sweeping new brooms into old offices to clear them of 13 years of Socialist rule. The new Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, defines his government as centrist but has chosen a strongly conservative and Catholic team.

Mr Aznar is flanked by two vice-presidents, Rodrigo Rato, 47, and Francisco Alvarez Cascos, 48. Mr Rato, a Jesuit-trained lawyer with a Berkeley business degree, is also Economy Minister. Mr Alvarez Cascos becomes Mr Aznar's political supremo, taking over a beefed-up Prime Minister's office. He has a reputation as something of a bruiser.

At the Foreign Ministry, Abel Matutes, 54, owner of a bank and one of Spain's richest men, brings his experience as an EU commissioner. One of his first ministerial comments was to warn that the Spanish economy could be damaged by jumping into Europe's single currency too soon.

Jaime Mayor Oreja takes over an Interior Ministry split from the Justice portfolio, with the challenge of solving the problem of Basque terrorism. Mr Mayor Oreja, who built up the PP in the Basque country, is well placed to attempt the task that has defeated every ruler in Madrid from Franco onwards. He is credited with bringing in the five MPs of the prickly Basque Nationalist Party behind Mr Aznar.

Mr Aznar's team comes from a nucleus of young politicians who joined, or founded, the pro-Franco Popular Alliance during Spain's first steps towards democracy, but then realised that the road to power lay in ditching the dictator's political legacy. They fought both the tide of moderate Socialism that all but drowned out the voice of the Spanish right, and against the unelectable sabre-rattlers on their own side.

Four women have been included, one more than in the Socialist cabinet. Isabel Tocino heads a new Environment ministry. Esperanza Aguirre, a Madrid senator often compared to Margaret Thatcherleads the combined ministry of Culture and Education, while Margarita Mariscal, a right-wing independent magistrate, heads the Justice ministry. Loyola de Palacio, a former PP parliamentary spokeswoman, takes over Agriculture.

Leading article, page 12

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Client Relationship Assistant / Business Support

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you willing to give fantastic Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Assistant Document Controller

£11000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Greenwich based firm of Archite...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum