Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 15:28 UK

Women dominate Spanish cabinet

Zapatero with deputy Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega 12 April 08
Mr Zapatero's cabinet boasts more women than men

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has unveiled his new cabinet, which for the first time includes more women than men.

The former housing minister, Carme Chacon, one of the rising stars of Spain's Socialist party, becomes its first ever female defence minister.

While there are five new faces overall, several key members of his last cabinet remain in place.

Mr Zapatero's Socialist party won re-election last month.

"I feel very proud that there are more women ministers than men," Mr Zapatero said, after being sworn in by King Juan Carlos.

Slumping economy

Nine of the ministers are women, and eight are men; when the prime minister is included, the cabinet is equally divided by gender.

Zapatero and King Juan Carlos - 12 April 08
Spain's prime minister is once again without a majority mandate

Although Mr Zapatero opted for continuity in several key portfolios - including foreign affairs, the economy and the interior - he also created an equality ministry, headed by a woman, Bibiana Aido, 31.

At his inaugural news conference, Mr Zapatero said she was the youngest minister Spain had had.

Mr Zapatero also reappointed Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, a mainstay of his previous government, as deputy prime minister.

Lawmakers had approved his reappointment as government leader on Friday, formally handing him the challenges of a slumping economy and resurgent Basque militants.

He also will have to continue to govern without an absolute majority in parliament.

Country profile: Spain
11 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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