AFTER a week of resignations and departures, the new ministers of the Botánico, the regional government, officially took over on Monday morning.
There were new appointments in five departments: Health, Education, Treasury, Territorial Policy, Public Works and Mobility, and Innovation, Universities, Science and the Digital Society. The regional government or Consell is also known as the Botánico, taking its name from the place where the original coalition agreement was signed.
The first change came along when education minister, Vicent Marzà, of the far-left Valencian nationalist party, Compromís, resigned on Wednesday after seven years in the post, saying he wanted to dedicate more time to his party, possibly because we are now entering the year running up to the 2023 elections. Marzà’s decision rather pre-empted President Puig’s re-shuffle but Marzà was speedily replaced by former primary school teacher, Raquel Tamarit, of the socialist PSOE party (pictured above dressed in cream).
Tamarit has vowed to “continue working so that each student has the opportunity to decide their future, so that no boy is limited how far he can go, that no girl is told what she can or cannot study, that there is no family that sheds a tear because they cannot pay the education of their sons and daughters”
Ana Barceló steps down as health minister and moves to Las Cortes, the Valencian parliament, as spokesperson for the socialist parliamentary group. Barceló, who has held the post since 2018 and throughout the pandemic, will be a familiar face to many. She tweeted that it had been an honour to serve in the position, however, after the exhausting years of the pandemic it was her desire to move on.
She is replaced as health minister by the independent doctor Miguel Mínguez, (pictured above on the right, wearing a red tie). Until now Dr Mínguez has been the director of the Digestive Health Unit at the Clinico de Valencia Hospital, but has proven to be a popular choice with health professionals who believe he will understand better than anyone what the main problems are within the Valencian public health system.
According to Cadena Ser radio, the doctors’ union CESM and the workers union Comisiones Obrereas recognise they will need to wait and see how Dr Mínguez manages things at the health department, but they are happy abouit him replacing Ana Barceló whose relationship with medical staff has been described as “conflictive”.
Meanwhile Arcadi España, Puig’s righthand man, leaves Territorial Policy Public Works and Mobility and goes to the Treasury. (España is in the middle of the picture wearing a red tie) He is replaced by the laywer Rebeca Torro (PSOE).
University professor, Josefina Bueno, becomes head of the department for Innovation, Universities, Science and the Digital Society.
Presenting his new cabinet on Monday morning, regional president, Ximo Puig, said that a new era was beginning, “in which the Consell will work for the assured progress of the Comunidad Valenciana based on stability and agreement.”
He said the aspirations of his government were to “encourage a better lifestyle in the Valencia region, and to attract more companies, more quality tourism and more talent.”
Valencia Popular Party leader, Carlos Mazón, said, following Marzà’s resignation, that the Botánico, had “collapsed” and that “we are witnessing an extraordinary loss of equilibrium”.
He added: “I thought Puig’s government was incapable of solving the problems, but now I see the real problem is the government itself.”