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Rajoy's cabinet reshuffle: Four new deputy secretaries and no change for ministers
19 June 2015 @ 12:09

SPANISH president Mariano Rajoy's long-awaited announcement of changes within his party line-up came late last night (Thursday) bringing very few surprises: instead of moving ministers around, he has given more prominent roles to four existing cabinet members.

María Dolores de Cospedal, who remains acting president of Castilla-La Mancha but looks set to lose her seat to a coalition, will continue as secretary-general and Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría will carry on as deputy president, meaning Rajoy's main right-hand women keep their roles.

New deputy secretaries include Fernando Martínez Maíllo, Javier Maroto, Andrea Levy and Pablo Casado, and existing deputy secretary Javier Arenas will continue in his post.

Moragas replaces Carlos Floriano as head of campaign for the November general elections, having been, until now, Rajoy's office manager and his consultant for meetings with foreign heads of State, a role he has carried out for Rajoy since 2008 due to his good reputation within the European Union and among foreign ambassadors in Spain.

The 50-year-old from Barcelona has already been presidency coordinator, head of international relations, and secretary-general of the presidency for Rajoy's predecessor as party leader, former Spanish president José María Aznar.

Moragas is a law graduate and a diplomat who is credited with being more towards the 'centre' in his political outlook than the far-right PP party as a whole - in fact, he hit the headlines in October 2004 when he was thrown out of Cuba for attempting to meet with a dissident as part of his ongoing campaign for the island nation's freedom.

He has been responsible for getting Rajoy to embrace modern technology, including Facebook and Twitter.

Pablo Casado (pictured bottom left), 34, from Palencia in Castilla y León is now vice-secretary general for media and communications - a PR man whose job is to 'stand up for' the party in meetings, Twitter messages, press conferences and Twitter posts.

A lawyer and economist by profession and currently MP for the province of Ávila, he has also been MP in Madrid, studied in Harvard and Georgetown and is known for being a 'family man' and constantly smiling - largely because his baby son Pablo survived and grew into a healthy toddler after being born at 25 weeks weighing just 1lb 12oz (700 grams)

Casado is one of the 'youthful faces' Rajoy has decided to put at the forefront of the party to give it a fresh new look and bring it into closer contact with society.

Another youthful face is 31-year-old Andrea Levy (pictured top right), who has been vice-secretary for research and programmes on the PP in Catalunya for three years and will now exercise this role at national government level.

A law graduate from Barcelona University and with a post-graduate diploma in International Relations and Protocol, her main role has been in media and PR, including having to defend the PP's views during Catalunya's sovereignty debates, both on radio and TV.

She is known for not being afraid to voice her own views, even when they conflict with those of her party, such as when her colleagues refused to vote over Catalunya's regional anti-homophobia law - Andrea went against the grain and voted in favour of the legislation, in keeping with her reputation within the PP as a strong defender of civil and individual rights.

Andrea wants to see the party become more open to the people and more moderate, less extreme, more modern, closer to the person on the street, and better able to work as a team.

She replaces Esteban González-Pons in the role and her appointment is largely aimed at modernising the party.

Fernando Martínez-Maíllo (pictured top left), 45, from Zamora in Castilla y León, is now vice-secretary for organisation within the PP, having spent the last 12 years as MP for his native province.

Starting out his working life as a solicitor and becoming head of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs in Zamora, councillor in Zamora city hall for sports and spokesman for the party, Martínez-Maíllo won a majority in last month's elections allowing him to continue for a fourth term of office as provincial MP.

A close friend of Rajoy's, Martínez-Maíllo even had the president as guest of honour at his wedding in 2011.

But he is currently under investigation for a case of 'unlawful administration' from when he was on the board of directors at Caja España bank, has already been charged and is awaiting trial.

Javier Maroto (pictured bottom right), 43, won the most seats in last month's elections when running again for mayor at Vitoria-Gasteiz city council, in the Basque Country, but a coalition formed by the opposition meant he was not able to repeat his stint in the hotseat - despite this, he actually won more votes this time around than he did in the previous local elections in 2011, when the PP enjoyed a landslide victory in practically every province in Spain.

Read more at thinkSPAIN.com



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