Spanish prime minister explains government reshuffle

20:57, October 20, 2010      

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Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has described his latest cabinet reshuffle as preparing for the future after a long period of dealing with economic crisis.

Five ministers have lost their jobs or been moved in the reorganization, announced Wednesday, and Maria Teresa de la Vega has been replaced as First Vice President by Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.

Other significant changes see Trinidad Jimenez move from the Health Ministry to the Foreign Office, while Leire Pajin replaces Jimenez at Health and Valeriano Gomez becomes Minister for Employment.

It is the seventh cabinet reshuffle by Zapatero since becoming Prime Minister in 2004. With the next general election just 17 months away, it represents an attempt to present a new-look government to a Spanish electorate worn down by the ongoing economic crisis.

Zapatero, speaking at a media conference at his official residence here, the Palacio de la Moncloa, said he was preparing for the future.8 "It is an important remodeling of the Government after getting over the financial uncertainty. We are incorporating people with a clear political profile, with great capacity of communication, people who are able to clearly explain what we are doing to Spanish society," he said.

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