GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “NEWS BACKGROUND: Felipe Ponders his Cabinet as the Rest Ponder their Future,” 12 NOVEMBER 1982

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Guidepost cover, 12 November 1982



Ed’s note:
In the wake of the 28 April 2019 general election in
in which the troubled Spanish Socialist Worker’s
Party (PSOE)  ha
s resuscitated as a potential ruling
party, we are reprinting
“Felipe Ponders” which talks
about a new Socialist government arising from PSOE’s
landslide victory in
the October 1982 election. The
victory in 2019 came after eleven long years
in the opposition. Such
is Spanish politics and
GUIDEPOST has been covering it all these years!



Felipe Ponders his Cabinet as the Rest Ponder their Future


By Douglas Boyd

As president-elect Felipe Gonzalez pondered the construction of his new Socialist government, the leaders of the other major parties – with the exception of the Alianza Popular’s ebullient Manuel Fraga – pondered their future amid the shambles of electoral defeat.

Felipe spent a few days’ rest and recuperation in the village of Dos Hermanas, near Seville, and would not commit himself one iota on the composition of his government due to take office at the beginning of December, but popular speculation says the main minister will be chosen from among the following:

President-elect Felipe Gonzalez on election eve, and Alfonso Guerra, Socialist No.2

Vice-President: Alfonso Guerra
Justice: Fernando Ledesma
Interior: Jose Maria Benegas (Saenz de Santa Maria), Carlos San Juan, Francisco
Laina (present director of State Security and the man who ran the country
for a few hours during 23-F; where he nominated, he would cross party
lines because he is now a member of Adolfo Suarez’ CDS; Felipe refused
to be drawn by reporters as to whether he would appoint someone from
another party, but said he did not rule out the idea).
Education: Jose Maria Maravall, Francisco Fernandez Ordoñez
Labour: Jeronimo Saavedra, Manuel Chaves
Defense: Miguel Boyer, Duran Farral, Fernandez Ordoñez
Treasury: Enrique Baron, Miguel Boyer
Health and Social Security: Ciriaco de Vicente
Agriculture: Carlos Romero, Carlos Tio
Economy and Trade: Carlos Solchaga, Joaquin Almunia
Industry and Energy: Javier Solana
Transport and Communications: Ernest Lluch
Public Works: Joaquin Almunia
Culture: Jose Maria Maravall, Salvador Clotas

It is worth pointing out that in all the posts except Justice, the new minister will be replacing a man who is not only out of office, but out of parliament, such was the devastation in the ruling UCD. The names of those booted out by the electorate include not only the incumbent president of the government, Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, but all those other names that have become familiar over the last seven years as the ministers played musical chairs: Iñigo Cavero, Jose Maria de Areilza (president of the Council of Europe who abandoned Fraga to join the UCD), Fernando Abril Martorell, Rafael Arias Salgado, Soledad Becerril, Juan Jose Roson (a pity, because all parties agree he has been a very good Minister of the Interior), Perdro Perez-LLorca, Alberto Oliart, etc. etc. In fact, aside from party leader Landelino Lavilla, only 12 other UCD deputies survived, including Rodolfo Martin Villa, Marcelino Oreja and Pio Cabanillas.

Former premier Adolfo Suarez finds himself with only one other CDS deputy, his loyal buddy Agustin Rodriguez Sahagun, who got in for Avila. Both Suarez and Lavilla, who accepted their defeats with grace on election eve, must take little comfort from the fact that if they had stayed together, and assuming they stayed together in the UCD, their party could have picked up 12 more seats, eight of them from the Socialists, one from the Communists, three from AP, to give a congress of 193 PSOE, AP, 102, UCD, 25, and PCE, four.

Communist leader Santiago Carrillo was a bitter man on election eve as he saw his number of deputies tumble from 23 to five, and he showed it by being snappy with the press. Since then he has said that we would remain as party leader and there would be no changes in the party’s political direction. Such firm statements by party leaders are usually the prelude to a bloodletting of Jacobean proportions.

The president-elect has already had talks with the president in situ to ensure a smooth change-over, the first real change of government in 42 years. One of Felipe’s first announced ideas is to install a direct “hot line” to Moncloa so that any citizen can ring the presidency (not necessarily the president himself) to voice complaints.