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Spain’s most gender-balanced government in history takes office

The new ministers – 61% of whom are women – have been officially sworn in at the Zarzuela palace

Ministros Pedro Sanchez
New Spanish government with King Felipe VI. EFE

On Thursday morning, the ministers of the new Socialist Party (PSOE) government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez were officially sworn in at the Zarzuela royal palace in the presence of King Felipe VI. The new lineup has the highest number of female ministers in any government in Europe with 11 of 17 ministries led by women – 61% of the Cabinet (including the prime minister himself).

Nearly all the new appointees used the expression “Consejo de Ministras y Ministros” (Cabinet of female ministers and male ministers) or else “Consejo de Ministros y Ministras,” rather than the usual “Consejo de Ministros,” to reflect the female majority in the Cabinet.

Sánchez said the ministers were chosen to “reflect Spanish society”

The new government also features a number of high-profile appointments such as astronaut Pedro Duque, who will be Spain’s new science minister. Duque is one of the best-known faces in Spanish science as one of only two Spaniards to travel into space.

In another high-profile pick, Sánchez – who became prime minister last week after leading a successful no-confidence motion against Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP) – appointed Dolores Delgado as justice minister. Delgado is a veteran prosecutor and specialist in jihadism cases. Judge and attorney associations celebrated the appointment, calling her “competent and qualified” for the job, Europa Press reported.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sánchez praised the “prestigious careers” of his new Cabinet and said his ministers were chosen to “reflect Spanish society.” Almost all of the appointments are specialists in their areas.

Women make up 61% of the new Cabinet

The new government also stands out for its ideological diversity. New Health Minister Carmen Montón, for instance, has been an avid Socialist since her youth and spearheaded the fight to protect women’s right to abortion. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, on the other hand, is a conservative who was a possible candidate for secretary general under Rajoy.

After the ceremony at the Zarzuela palace, there will be an official transfer of powers from the former PP members to the new appointments. Congressional speaker Ana Pastor has also called the first meeting of parliamentary spokespeople since Sánchez was sworn in to schedule the first parliamentary session under the new government.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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