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Former PM Mariano Rajoy and his team await comfortable future

Members of the defeated Popular Party government can return to their civil servant positions, and most also retain their status as deputy

(l-r) Former ministers Fátima Báñez, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Íñigo de la Serna and Juan Ignacio Zoido.
(l-r) Former ministers Fátima Báñez, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Íñigo de la Serna and Juan Ignacio Zoido.

Former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and senior government officials may have lost their posts thanks to the no-confidence motion filed by Socialist Pedro Sánchez last week, but most have not lost their means to earn a living.

High-ranking officials have what is known as “backpacks” – civil servant positions that they can return to after serving in government.

The past years have been very intense and now we want to be the bosses of our own time

PP minister

Rajoy for example, could go back to his position as a registrar, while the former Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and Popular Party (PP) Secretary General Dolores de Cospedal are state lawyers; the former interior minister, José Ignacio Zoido, is a judge.

What’s more, most of the Popular Party (PP) members affected by the change are also deputies in Congress, or in other words, politicians with a fixed salary.

This “backpack” gives them professional insurance, but many – still in a state of shock – plan to take a pause from politics. “I want to live,” said one of Rajoy’s former ministers. Another said: “The past years have been very intense and now we want to be the bosses of our own time.” And a third explained: “I still don’t have the perspective to know how everything that has happened is going to affect me.” In a matter of hours, the former ministers have gone from having no time to themselves to having the freedom to take off months.

Some are worried about how the dramatic change will affect their families. The former deputy prime minister said on Friday, after the success of the no-confidence motion, that her biggest concern was explaining what had happened to her six-year-old son before he found out somewhere else.

High-ranking officials can return to civil servant positions

Up until last week, Sáenz de Santamaría had been considered the most powerful woman in Spain and a potential successor of Rajoy. There is speculation now that she will resume her role as the PP’s parliamentary spokesperson, which she left in 2011 when the PP was elected into office.

Meanwhile, many PP members are planning for the municipal, regional and European Parliament elections of 2019.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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