Spain's New Prime Minister Merges Culture and Education Ministries

Sociologist Jose Ignacio Wert to head the new ministry.

MADRID - As part of austerity measures, Spain's new prime minister Mariano Rajoy revealed his cabinet late Wednesday with the expected merger of the education, sports and culture ministries, hours after taking the helm of the government.

Sociologist Jose Ignacio Wert headed the public opinion polling entity Demoscopia since 1987 and has been president of audience measurement company Sofres since 1994. He holds a degree in law from Complutense University. Wert was Head of Studies in pubcaster RTVE, Sub-director of the CIS Sociological Investigation Center and Professor of Political Sociology in the Autonoma University of Madrid.

Outgoing Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde has said she will leave politics and focus on writing.

For three years he was a councilor in Madrid town hall and spokesman in the area of Institutional Relationships and Communication.

Rajoy's center-right Popular Party won in a landslide victory last month, ousting the ruling Socialist Workers Party led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Rajoy has said he will move quickly to bolster market confidence and fight the 23 percent unemployment in Spain.

Economist Luis de Guindos, who held various economic positions including Secretary of State for Economy under  former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar between 1996 and 2004, also was on the board at AB Asesores and President of Lehmen Brothers Spain and Portugal. He presently teaches at Madrid's prestigious IE Business School.

Rajoy cut the 15 previously existing ministries to 13, merging culture and education with sports, while eliminating science altogether.

As a side note, Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon leaves his post to become Justice Minister, as his deputy mayor Ana Botella steps up to become Madrid's first female mayor. Botella is a former first lady of Spain as Aznar's wife.

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