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The brain in Spain's new government

by Migeru Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 04:26:06 AM EST

Spain has a new Government since this week. The investiture vote was on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the Cabinet swore their positions, and yesterday there was a first Council of Ministers.

The government is relatively small, with only 13 ministers and only one vice-president. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hasn't felt the need to pay back favours or accommodate political families within his party and so the government is composed of faithful, technocrats and safe hands. Rajoy has separated the Finance and Economy ministries and will take for himself the Economic vice-presidency to mediate between the two ministers. In this area, he has brought the traditional Ministry for Public Administrations under Finance, and Research and Development (dropping the old Science label) under Economy. However, what's become clear is who the real person to watch is in this government, and it's not Rajoy but Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. Here's her with a look on her face like she's just stolen her portfolio:


Jokes aside, for a long time she has been the PP's spokesperson and will be the government's (Rajoy does not like press conferences), she has been Rajoy's right-hand aide (and she will be Minister for the Presidency - a sort of Chief of Staff - and the only Vice-President in a country that for the past 15 years had become used to two and even 3 vice presidents). In addition, Rajoy has taken the National Intelligence Centre out from under the Ministry of Defence and under Presidency. Much has been made of the fact that "Soraya will control the spies", but aside from the important and under-commented fact of making intelligence a civilian function, it's clearly intended that all important information flows directly to Rajoy through a person of his utmost trust, and not through the Ministry of Defence.

But there are some indications that Soraya is more than just a trusted aide, but actually the brain of the government. Apart from the functions of Chief of Staff, Spokeswoman, and information filter, she was actually in charge of the transfer of power from the old government, she personally audited every outgoing ministry and she wrote the resulting internal PP report. Therefore, she already knows more than any other minister about the state of the country, and more in-depth than Rajoy himself. Coupled with the fact that she helped redesign the breakdown of ministries in the new government and her functions in it, one cannot help but suspect that Rajoy will be just a figurehead. Authoritative, but with the real initiative with Soraya, including the media limelight which Rajoy himself shuns.

Display:
Happy Christmas Eve, Soraya.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 04:28:29 AM EST
You have faith in (main party) politicians? Really Migeru?
by kjr63 on Mon Dec 26th, 2011 at 12:57:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm just pointing out who I think is wearing the pants in the new cabinet.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2011 at 06:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interessting! Do you know more about her policies? What does she mean for the future of Spain? I would be interessted in your guesses.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 05:34:29 AM EST
I don't know much about her policies. It appears she's unconventional for the PP, or simply representative of the fact that the hardliners are out of favour with Rajoy. In this El Pais story she's characterised as
... a brilliant State's Counsel, ... some don't exclude that she may have voted for PSOE some time ... effective and discreet ... organised, nor prone to giving up, and absolutely faithful, ... a woman who got a civil wedding in Brazil and promised rather than swore her seat in parliament gave an image of modernity contrary to the traditional PP ...
She just gave birth to a child and she chose to not take maternity leave in order to concentrate on the important work of coordinating the transfer of powers.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 08:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Recession nears as UK services shrink | Business | The Guardian
Urgent measures to reduce Spain's bloated deficits will be approved next week, said the deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, after the new government's first cabinet meeting on Friday. Employers and unions have until 7 January to come up with a labour reform agreement to help get the country's near five million jobless back to work.

She's already heading up economic announcements it seems...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 11:02:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I hate to sound cynical, but I wonder if the "unconventional" image is just going to be a front for very conventional policies.

It's notable that in France, Lagarde had an unconventional image, but she completely toed the austerity line until she moved out to the IMF...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 11:04:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because this government does not include neoliberal or catholic zealots doesn't mean it's not a conventional conservative government.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 25th, 2011 at 11:05:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just today: A Government with the lobbies within
Rajoy includes in his Executive representatives of important pressure groups. The financial sector opens a direct line to the Cabinet.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2011 at 09:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm guessing she will be someone to watch in the race to succeed Rajoy in the PP leadership when the time comes.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 24th, 2011 at 08:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The brain in Spain stays mainly with the dame?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Dec 25th, 2011 at 01:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brain or not the debt /growth math sucks for Spain and for the rest of EU.

"A politician will do anything to keep his job - even become a patriot"

EuroTrib.com
by Olivera Despina on Mon Dec 26th, 2011 at 11:24:30 PM EST
Soraya the brain , and Botella the major.

Great depression here we come!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 10:56:53 AM EST


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