The first decisions that Pedro Sánchez is taking as prime minister of Spain have shown his commitment to reliability, experience and the European project. And by appointing 11 women to his 17-member Cabinet, he is also visibly and decisively connecting with a fight for women’s rights that has been embraced by Spanish society.
The Cabinet that the new PM officially announced on Wednesday has sent out a series of conciliatory messages to our European partners, to the markets, to allies and to political rivals. The main message is one of stability, something that should be welcome at a time when European politics and the global economy are going through turbulent times that could undermine Spain’s own recovery in terms of the economy and jobs – a recovery that Spain cannot afford to ruin through political fragmentation and partisan interests.
It should be noted that, in his own latest reconversion, Pedro Sánchez has again opted for the center of the political spectrum. We should be happy about that, because the result is a strong government that holds the promise of moderation, professionalism and good judgment, values that, together with clean and ethical attitudes, Spanish society is anxious to see reflected in their leaders.
With this team, Sánchez seems to want to win back the moderate center-left space that has brought such good results to his party and to Spanish society since the return of democracy in the 1970s. This move could turn the page on the ideological hesitation and confusion that have defined the recent past of the PSOE, and which led to such bad results in the opinion polls.
Sánchez has brought together PSOE representatives of various geographical areas and historical periods with extensive government experience. One of the most prominent figures is the new foreign minister, Josep Borrell, who was a minister under Felipe González and also served as president of the European Parliament. His job now is to convey to Spain’s European partners the reality of the Catalan issue; this is a task that the Rajoy government failed to perform, with dire consequences for the country’s international image.
Faced with accusations that this government lacks the legitimacy of an electoral victory (irresponsibly, the Popular Party once again said as much yesterday), the new PM has reinforced his message of stability with a majority of experienced ministers, peppered with appointments that lack experience but contribute high media impact.
The new government is also ideologically unified, with no concessions to the variety of allies who helped the PSOE win the no-confidence vote. This shows a desire to exhibit independence from Podemos and from the regional nationalist parties; it also demonstrates a wish to last out the entire political term if parliamentary fragmentation does not prevent it. The new government is facing the difficult task of giving the country much-needed stability at political, economic and constitutional levels, and doing this with support from a fragile parliamentary majority.
English version by Susana Urra.