Zapatero anoints Blanco as new voice of government

Exit of Socialist candidate Rubalcaba also sees Salgado promoted to first deputy PM

Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Monday announced a small-scale Cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of his former deputy, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, who stepped down to prepare for the Socialist Party's general election campaign as candidate.

Public Works Minister José Blanco, an unflinching Zapatero supporter, will become the new government spokesman, charged with guiding the Socialists to the end of the current legislature and the elections due next March. Antonio Camacho, secretary of state for the interior under Rubalcaba, is promoted to minister status.

Economy Minister Elena Salgado rises from the post of second deputy prime minister to occupy Rubalcaba's former office of deputy to Zapatero while Manuel Chaves, third deputy prime minister and minister of territorial policy, rises to second deputy. His former office has been scrapped. "These changes signify the government will continue to work at full tilt," Zapatero said.

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