Mariano Rajoy was sworn in as President of the Government by King Felipe VI last Monday at Zarzuela Palace.
The ceremony was also attended by the Speakers of the Lower and the Upper Houses of Parliament, Ana Pastor and Pío García Escudero as well as Presidents of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), Francisco Pérez de los Cobos and Carlos Lesmes.
On Thursday Rajoy then went on to announce his new cabinet, bringing six new ministers, including 5 women, into his 13 member administration.
But his selections were strongly criticized by opposition parties, which said they would pursue the same austerity policies as before with little interest being shown in the negotiations that Rajoy has promised to win support for his legislation.
At a difficult time in which the prosperous Catalonia region plans an independence referendum Rajoy remained loyal to Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, who will take charge of relations.
However José Manuel García-Margallo, who was particularly vocal about his intention to return Gibraltar to Spain, has been dropped and replaced as foreign minister by a career diplomat Alfonso Dastis Quecedo, 61, until now Spain’s permanent representative to the European Union.
Rajoy’s return to power was only made possible after the Socialist party decided to abstain in a parliamentary confidence vote last Saturday, instead of voting against him as they have done on previous occasions.
But unlike 2011 when he came to power with an absolute majority, Rajoy’s Partido Popular (PP) only has 137 out of 350 MPs, meaning his minority government will have to negotiate every bill with the opposition.