The Great Cabinet Re-shuffle: the significance
On a recent Sunday the President of the Government was asked at a meeting if he intended to remodel his government, by making changes among the ministers. Rodríguez Zapatero replied briefly to the effect that the only change considered at the time was a new post for the retiring Minister of Labour, Celestino Corbacho. Sr. Corbacho had announced his intention of returning to the normal (?) everyday debate in Catalan politics.
As writers in all the Spanish newspapers correctly predicted, this meant that on the day after, a Monday, the El Pais website duly ‘leaked’ the news that there was about to be a positively volcanic re-shuffle of responsibilities in the Cabinet, in which only Mr Zapatero himself would be untouched, one way or the other.
First, Zapatero has removed three of his most stalwart fans and supporters. María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, senior vice-president and ZP’s staunchest admirer; Miguel Angel Moratinos, Foreign Minister, and Elena Espinosa, Minister for the Environment are all out. They will be given sinecures for their pains. Moratinos learnt about his abrupt dismissal while occupying his seat in Congress, and was seen to weep.