With the aim of leaving behind a first half of the legislature marked by the bad news of the pandemic, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, whose wear and tear was already beginning to be reflected in some polls, decided on 10 July, just a few weeks before the end of the political year, to embark on a new course by changing six of his ministers.
From Catalonia to the prices of electricity and housing: the urgencies of the Government change before the beginning of the political course
The aim of the reform of the Executive, which did not affect the ministers of Unidas Podemos, is to face the second half of the legislature with more optimism, presenting his new team as the “Government of recovery”, in a scenario in which Spain leads the world rankings of vaccination and economic growth after months of health emergency.
Giving more weight to other profiles of the PSOE, Sanchez dropped some of the most relevant ministers of his Cabinet that, at the same time, accused a greater wear both for its overexposure and for some controversial decisions. In that group were the former first vice-president Carmen Calvo – who has been succeeded by the new Minister of Presidency, Felix Bolaños -, the former Minister of Transport and former Secretary of Organization of the PSOE José Luis Ábalos – replaced by Raquel Sánchez -, and the former Minister of Justice Juan Carlos Campo – whose portfolio is now occupied by Pilar Llop -.
The president also replaced the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González-Laya -released by José Manuel Albares-, the Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá -who ceded the ministry to Pilar Alegría-, the Minister of Science, Pedro Duque -succeeded by Diana Morant- and the Minister of Culture, José Manuel Rodríguez-Uribes, who has been replaced by Miquel Iceta, who remained in the Government after ceding the Ministry of Territorial Policy to Isabel Rodríguez, the new spokesperson of the Executive. Sánchez also dismissed his chief of staff, Iván Redondo, who until then was considered “the 23rd minister” for his all-powerful influence on the president’s decisions.
Compensations of almost 5,000 euros a month
More than a month and a half after this government crisis, what has become of the outgoing ministers? What are their plans once they have left the Executive? Campo has returned to the National Court, where he had a post as a judge. Calvo and Ábalos plan to continue as deputies of the PSOE in Congress at least until the end of the legislature and Rodríguez Uribes remains in the leadership of the Socialist Party, as Secretary for Secularism. On the other hand, González-Laya, Celaá, Duque and Redondo, waiting to find new professional challenges, have opted to request compensation as former senior officials and will receive 80% of the salary they received when they were in the Executive for up to two years, as Maldita.es advanced in late July.
That compensation, which would be paralyzed in the case of finding a new job – this newspaper has tried without success to know if any of the four is on the way to start in a new position – to be incompatible with another salary, can be charged for a maximum period of two years and provided that it has been at least that time in office, which is the case of Duque, Celaá and Redondo. González Laya, however, can only receive it for a year and a half, since that was the time during which he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. According to Article 20 of the General State Budget Law of 2021, the budgets that were in force when they were dismissed, the salary of a minister is 74,858 euros per year, so Celaá, González Laya and Duque are entitled to receive an allowance of 59,886.48 euros per year, about 5,000 euros per month, to compensate for their incompatibility and the prohibition during that time to join jobs related to their functions in the Government.
Redondo, who was head of the Cabinet of the Presidency, received in 2020, according to the remunerations for 2020 that are published in the Transparency Portal, 118,131.66 euros, so if the percentage is calculated based on this figure, he would receive 7,875.44 euros per month for a maximum period of two years.
Campo does not sit in a “revolving door”.
Those who will maintain professional activity will be Campo, Calvo, Ábalos and Rodríguez Uribes. The first requested his reinstatement in the place of judge of the Criminal Chamber of the National Court so that, according to the regime of incompatibilities contained in the current legislation, given his previous condition of minister will have the obligation to abstain in all proceedings where the parties are or the party representatives.
“The return to the job to which you acceded 34 years ago is not any contamination or any revolving door, it is a return to your profession,” Campo defended himself on July 22 in an interview with the agency Europa Press after criticism against him for going from top politician of the administration of Justice to return to form part of this, in a matter of days. For the now active judge, the important thing is that the National Court, and specifically the Criminal Chamber of which he will be part, is a body in which decisions are taken collegially, “and there is no room for the influence of anyone except the legal”.
From the closest environment to Calvo confirm to elDiario.es that his intention is to continue as a deputy of the PSOE until the end of the legislature. “I will be seen in my seat as soon as my group summons me to what I have to convene. I am a deputy at the moment,” she assured herself just four days after being dismissed by Sanchez. “I will continue to help my party, which is what I have always done and what I have to continue doing, in my seat, with my colleagues,” insisted the former vice president in her last public intervention, just over a month ago.
Calvo also remains the head of Equality in the direction of the PSOE, although in his dismissal as vice president weighed heavily an alleged loss of confidence of the president on the occasion of the negotiation of the Trans Law, which faced which was the ‘number two’ of the Executive with the holder of Equality, Irene Montero, for months, and were known disagreements between the two ministers in these and other policies of Equality.
Uribes returns to the university
Ábalos, meanwhile, resigned as secretary of Organization of the PSOE – and was replaced by Santos Cerdán – just hours after being dismissed as Minister of Transport by Sánchez, a gesture that he himself did not expect and that also caught much of the party by surprise, but that meant a clear loss of confidence of the president of the Government who is also the secretary general of the party. However, his intention is to continue as a deputy in Congress until 2023, as this newspaper has learned.
In short he was one of the leaders who supported Sanchez in the primaries against Susana Diaz in 2017 from the beginning, despite the fact that they had not had much relationship before, but quickly became part of his closest team until he appointed him secretary of Organization in that congress. As one of the few veterans that Sánchez had then in his closest circle, he was the defender of the PSOE’s position in the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy presented by Pablo Iglesias and, later, the one successfully promoted by Sánchez in 2018 to kick him out of Moncloa.
Who does maintain his position in the party is the former Minister of Culture José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, but with very minor responsibilities. According to the PSOE’s organizational chart, and as he himself says in his Twitter profile, he is still the Secretary of Secularism of the socialist leadership. In addition, the also former head of Sports is a professor of Philosophy of Law and Human Rights at the University Carlos III of Madrid where he plans to return in the coming months.