Cablegate: Spain: Update On Zapetero's Cabinet Selections
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 001052
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP PSOE
SUBJECT: SPAIN: UPDATE ON ZAPETERO'S CABINET SELECTIONS
REF: MADRID 919
1. (U) Summary: Future Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez
Zapatero is revealing his cabinet selections on a piecemeal
basis as the government formation process procedes. Thus far
he has officially named Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega as
First Vice President of Government and Minister of the
Presidency, Pedro Solbes as Second Vice President and
Minister of Economy and Finance, Jose Bono as Minister of
Defense, Manuel Marin as PSOE's candidate for President of
Congress (making him a virtual shoe-in), and Alfredo Perez
Rubalcaba as PSOE,s Spokesperson in Congress. Though widely
expected to be Foreign Minister, Miguel Moratinos has not yet
recieved the official nod. Biographical information for
these new appointees is provided as a follow up to reftel.
2. (SBU) The list below provides biographical information on
those whom Zapatero has officially named to his
administration thus far.
(A) Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega: First Vice President
of Government and Minister of the Presidency. Fernandez de
la Vega is Zapatero's first female appointee. Born in
Valencia in 1949, Fernandez de la Vega holds a master's and
doctoral degree in law, and was a university professor before
becoming active in politics. Fernandez de la Vega joined the
now-defunct Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC) in
1974. In 1982, she was appointed to lead the Cabinet of
Ministers of Justice by the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party
(PSOE). From 1985 to 1989, she was designated as PSOE's
Director General of Services for the Ministry of Justice.
Fernandez de la Vega also served as Spokesperson for the
governing council of the Institute of Women (1986),
Spokesperson for the General Council of Judicial Powers
(1990), and Secretary of State for Justice (1994). When the
Popular Party won the general elections in 1996, Fernandez de
la Vega joined the opposition as a member of the Socialist
parliamentary group in Congress.
(B) Pedro Solbes: Second Vice President of Government and
Minister of the Economy. Solbes, born in 1942 in Alicante,
is returning to Spanish government after serving as European
Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs since 1999.
Solbes earned high marks for taking the EU Council of
Ministers to task for their refusal to sanction France and
German for exceeding the Europe Stability and Growth Pact's
budget deficit limits. Although he is not technically a
member of socialist party, Solbes has served in the Spanish
government since 1968, when he began his career a civil
servant in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. As Director
General of Commercial Policy in the Ministry of Economics and
Trade (1979-1982), Solbes played an important role in
negotiating Spanish accession to the European Community. He
was Secretary General of Economy and Treasury (1982-1985),
Secretary of State for EU relations (1985), Minister of
Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (1991-1993), and Minister of
Economy and Treasury (1993-1996). In 1996, Solbes became a
member of the Spanish Parliament. He left this position to
become EU Commissioner in 1999.
(C) Jose Bono: Cited by Zapatero prior to the elections as
his for Minister of Interior, Bono has now been officially
tapped as Minister of Defense. Bono is a key socialist
"baron" who has spent the last twenty-one years as President
of the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha. He has
stated that he will resign as President, without choosing a
successor, once he is officially named defense minister by
public decree in April. Bono, a one-time challenger to
Zapatero for the position of PSOE Secretary General in 2000,
has recently downplayed his alleged rivalry with Zapatero.
Zapatero, Bono stated, won PSOE's top spot as "the better
man" and was "noble" for choosing him as defense minister.
Bono opposes nationalist plans to break up Spain and fully
backs Zapatero's promise to withdraw troops from Iraq absent
(D) Manuel Marin has been named president of Congress. See
reftel for biographical information.
(E) Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba: PSOE Spokesperson in Congress.
Rubalcaba, born in Solares, Santander in 1951, began his
political career in the Madrid Socialist Forum in 1978. A
professor of chemistry, Rubalcaba served as an advisor on
university affairs to the Socialist Parliamentary Group.
After the Socialists won the national elections in 1982,
Rubalcaba was appointed Director of Technical Cabinet of
Secretary of State for Universities, Director General for
Higher Education (1985), and Secretary of State for Education
(1988), and served as Minister of Education from 1992 to
1993. In 1993, Rubalcaba began his career in Congress. He
served as Minister of the Presidency of Relations with
Parliament and Spokesperson for the Government until the PP
won a majority in Congress in 1996. After 1996, Rubalcaba
served as PSOE's Secretary for Media Relations and was the
party's chief negotiator in government talks on the
Anti-Terrorist Pact and the Political Party Law. Rubalcaba
developed a close friendship with Zapatero when he supported
his candidacy for PSOE Secretary General in 2000.