New Government
Politics 26/05/2021

New cabinet: more women than men, dominated by lawyers and political scientists and average age of 47.5

Despite their youth, ministers accumulate combined experience of over 100 years in politics

3 min
01. Pere Aragonès reviewing the gala formation of the Mossos d'Esquadra that received him at the Palau de la Generalitat. 02. The new president received the medal that accredits him in the position from his predecessor, Quim Torra.   2. The president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, conversing with the minister Miquel Iceta and the leader of the PSC to the Parliament , Salvador Illa.

BarcelonaThe composition of a new government is also a declaration of intentions for the next four years. That's why every detail counts. For example, that only two of the thirteen ministers of the previous cabinet are continuing, three counting the president (Pere Aragonès, Teresa Jordà and Jordi Puigneró). ERC and JxCat have chosen an executive - the first that will have a Department of Feminisms - formed mostly by women (8 to 7) and young, with an average age of 47.5 years: in addition to the youngest president since the restoration of democracy (38), the youngest minister will be Victòria Alsina (37) and there are four more members who are under 45 (Roger Torrent, Gemma Geis, Tània Verge and Laura Vilagrà). The oldest is Josep Maria Argimon (63), followed by Jaume Giró (57).

This is also an executive that claims to be technical, with up to five independents - Tània Verge and Joan Ignasi Elena (ERC) and Josep Maria Argimon, Jaume Giró and Victòria Alsina (JxCat) - full of lawyers (5) and political scientists (4), and in which all members have university studies - some even have a PhD: there is an epidemiologist, a graduate in Spanish, a telecommunications engineer, a journalist (with studies also in business administration and management), an industrial engineer and a historian. Most of them (8) were born in Barcelona (three of them in the capital, two in Sant Cugat del Vallès, one in Badalona, one in Santpedor and one in Pineda de Mar); but there are three from Girona (one from the capital, one from Ripoll and one from Sarrià de Ter), two from Tarragona (both from Reus, although one has lived in Sabadell) and two more born in Lleida city.

Although the priority of this Government is to resolve the political conflict with the State through dialogue and set aside, for the moment, unilateralism, the recent past still haunts some of the new ministers. There are four ministers facing court cases, three of which are directly related to the Independence bid. Natàlia Garriga is one of the thirty senior officials of the Generalitat investigated in the 13th court of Barcelona for their relationship with the 2017 referendum; Tània Verge was recently acquitted for having been part of the electoral syndicate of 1-O, although the Prosecutor's Office has filed an appeal, and Roger Torrent ended his term as president of Parliament with a complaint from the Prosecutor's Office for having allowed the chamber to vote resolutions on self-determination and on the monarchy. For his part, Josep González-Cambray is being investigated in the framework of the Volhov operation.

Over 100 years' combined experience

The change of faces has been profound and the youth of some of the incorporations could make one think that this government lacks experience in management. Nothing could be further from the truth. With the exception of newcomers to institutional politics (Tània Verge, Victòria Alsina, Jaume Giró and Josep Maria Argimon, although the hitherto secretary of Public Health has held several technical but politically appointed positions) most of them have long political careers. At the top of the list are Roger Torrent and Teresa Jordà, who have spent more than two decades in politics: 21 years each.

The former president of Parliament entered politics for the first time in 1999 as a councillor of Sarrià de Ter -he would end up being mayor-, and in 2012 he entered the Parliament as a deputy. As for Jordà, who has kept her cabinet post from the last government, she began her career as a councillor of Ripoll, also in 1999, and since then has been mayor and a member of the Spanish Parliament. Next come the vice-president, Jordi Puigneró, who in 2003 became chief of staff of the then mayor of Sant Cugat del Vallès, Lluís Recoder; Joan Ignasi Elena, who was deputy of the Parliament already in 1992, and Laura Vilagrà, the youngest mayor of Catalonia in 2003, but who had already started as a councillor four years before, and continued occupying positions of political relevance until the end of 2017. They have each spent 18 years in politics. President Aragonès entered Parliament in 2006 and has already accumulated 15 years of experience in institutions. Lourdes Ciuró (15 years), Violant Cervera (6 years), Gemma Geis (4 years) also have experience. González-Cambray and Natàlia Garriga have not been deputies nor councillors, but they do have a wide experience in political positions in the Generalitat.

Aragonès's Government first concerns will be overcoming the economic and social crisis derived from the covid-19. New executives are usually given 100 days of grace, but the president is aware that the demands of both the opposition and his own partners will not take so long to arrive.