Nobody is eternal and in politics everything changes. With the recent remodeling of the Government, Pedro Sánchez has shown that in his there were only two untouchable pieces. His, of course, and the agreement with United We Can, whose ministers all remain in their posts. The one communicated this Saturday was not a procedural crisis, but deep and with a double political intention: to reinforce the political profile of the cabinet and definitively overcome the open wounds in the PSOE in 2017. Seven ministers leave, as many new ones arrive and one, Miquel Iceta, changes portfolio when going from Territorial Policy to Culture. “The lord gave it to you, the lord took it from you and blessed be the lord’s name,” one of the projections sneered.
Changes in the Government: who leaves and who enters the Council of Ministers
Pedro Sánchez looks to 2023 with a change that rejuvenates the cabinet and responds to the green, social and equality axes, but above all it turns the page in the Government and in the party. Rather, it returns to its version 1.0, which was supported in 2014 by some territorial leaders for the general secretariat of the PSOE without the distorting effect of Susana Díaz, who never knew how to read the party and the country in global terms. The messages are clear. The president leaves the first stage of his government behind with the departure of several ministers, including his main props, such as the vice-president until now Carmen Calvo or the secretary of Organization of the PSOE, José Luis Ábalos, but above all he opens a new stage in the party with the incorporation of young faces of socialism from different families, especially from the madinism and the susanism.
Overcoming the crisis of 2017 is concluded with the arrival at the Council of Ministers of Isabel Rodríguez, who will be the new spokesperson for the coalition, or Pilar Alegría, who will occupy the Education portfolio. Both supported Díaz’s candidacy in the last primaries.
The president rushed to the last minute the changes of the deep remodeling in which he had been working for several weeks. Practically no one in his environment had all the information that, as on other occasions, he has transmitted in a fragmented way. In fact, several of his ministers were out of Madrid and he communicated the decision to them by phone. Among them, Arancha González Laya, Isabel Celaá and Juan Carlos Campo.
With the departure of Calvo, Ábalos and Iván Redondo, the socialist leader sends the message that the internal confrontations and palace intrigues are over, after three years of clashes between Moncloa and Ferraz. Not one more. The former chief of staff, one of the main protagonists of the friction within the Executive, tried unsuccessfully to remain in the government as Minister of the Presidency. Sánchez understood, however, that he no longer fit into the team and thanked him for the services he provided.
Despite the departure of Ábalos, who until now has been the party’s main reference, Sánchez uses heavyweights of socialism by replacing Redondo – an expert in political communication and marketing, but without any political affiliation – by Óscar López, a a party man, recognized by the old guard and who represents to a large extent the “usual PSOE” due to his past as secretary of the Organization of Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba. The change has sat well in the socialist structures when understanding that a piece “that seized the engine” of the government has disappeared and in which Sánchez “had long lost confidence when he suspected that he was working for himself and not for a collective project,” according to Socialist sources relate.
Ábalos will not be Secretary of the Organization
After the final political death of Susana Díaz, Sánchez definitively sews the wounds of the PSOE, although he leaves behind those who were his main supporters, who did not even suspect that this Sunday they would no longer be part of the Council of Ministers. In fact, both had an institutional agenda planned for the entire coming week. Ábalos also did not imagine that the president had planned to relieve him in the Party Organization, something that will happen in the congress next October.
The defenestration of Calvo and Ábalos are the ones that have had the most impact on the game. In Sánchez’s environment, they assure that the former vice president has fitted it well, but that Ábalos’ decision has been the hardest, despite the fact that the president understood that he was already accumulating too much wear and tear. The party will remain in the hands of Adriana Lastra, who is the current deputy secretary general and parliamentary spokesperson, and Santos Cerdán, who until now is in charge of the Territorial Coordination. In that hard core, Félix Bolaños now also emerges as a strong man of the party in the Government, after his promotion to the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory and assuming the internal coordination that he had been carrying out de facto since 2018 together with Bald.
It was known that Sánchez wanted to change the Government to raise the political profile of his ministers with his sights already set on the 2023 elections, but also on the leadership of the PSOE. In fact, he preferred that the remodeling of the Government be in July despite the fact that there were advisers who recommended that he do it in the autumn coinciding with the 40th Congress of the PSOE. All after Sánchez had fulfilled his commitment to those who supported him in the battle four years ago, as had been advanced by elDiario.es.
The cabinet incorporates profiles from municipal action, in particular several mayors with a socialist card and with accumulated victories at the polls. This is the case of the first mayor of Puertollano, Isabel Rodríguez, who will hold the spokesperson and the portfolio of Territorial Policy; Raquel Sánchez, councilor of Gavá, who succeeds Ábalos in Transport, Urban Agenda and Mobility; and her counterpart in Gandía, Diana Morant, who will be Minister of Science and Innovation. The president has also valued the “generational renewal” in a cabinet that goes from an average of 55 years to 50, as well as the increase in women, who now represent 63% of the Government.
In recent months Sánchez has been giving prominence to new profiles that can serve for the future of the party at the national level, but also for the renewal of the territories. Hence, it has dispensed with more technical profiles, such as Arancha González Laya, who is replaced by José Manuel Albares in Foreign Affairs; Pedro Duque, who leaves Science and Innovation in the hands of a minister with a party card; or Isabel Celaá, who after three years leaves the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training so that Pilar Alegría enters, who was the spokesperson for Susana Díaz in the primaries and who in Ferraz they see with good eyes to relieve Javier Lambán when the moment.
Even for the Secretary of State for Communication, which will now report to Óscar López as chief of staff, Sánchez wants a political profile to replace Miguel Ángel Oliver, whose performance during the three years that he has been in office has not satisfied either the Government or to journalists.
The Government thus enters a new phase upon reaching the halfway point of the legislature, although all the ministers of United We Can remain in office. Sánchez addressed the matter on several occasions this week with Vice President Yolanda Díaz with the intention of playing a piece, but the leader of the minority partner told him that she did not want to move anyone because it would have caused tensions at a time when the space was reconfigured after leaving. by Pablo Iglesias. In United We can also consider that the departure of the former vice president was already enough change for the coalition. They found out about the reshuffle of the government before the interested parties themselves because the president transferred it to Díaz and she, in turn, to the ministers of the confederal group, who welcome “the departure of conservative profiles and the entry of other more progressive ”, informs Aitor Riveiro.