Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has appointed a minister of Palestinian origin in his new cabinet.
Sira Rego, of the Izquierda Unida party (United Left), will be joining the Spanish Council of Ministers in the week starting November 20 as head of the Youth and Childhood portfolio.
Although born in Valencia, her father is Palestinian and Rego herself lived for several years in the West Bank, where she still has family.
Her announcement comes amid a Spanish cabinet reshuffle that includes new faces and ministries.
Youth and Childhood is one of three newly-formed ministries that now make up the Sánchez’s Government. He said his Government will have “a pronounced political profile”. That likely explains the appointment of high-profile figures within the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the leftist groups that make up the Sumar movement, observers say.
Rego is expected to manage the distribution to the mainland of unaccompanied migrant minors who have arrived in large numbers over the past months in the Canary Islands. She was Vice President of the The Left in the European Parliament until her ministerial appointment on November 20.
Rego has been one of the leading voices in the European Parliament supporting Palestinian statehood.
After the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, she said: “Palestine has the right to resist decades of occupation, apartheid and exile.
“The only solution is to end the occupation,” she added.
Rego also voted against the October 19 resolution in the Parliament that condemned the Hamas assault.
Ernest Urtasun, the newly appointed Spanish Minister of Culture, joined Rego in opposing the resolution.
Rego’s appointment comes a week after Sánchez announced in his premiership debate Spain’s support for the Palestinian cause.
He promised his Government would work at the national and European levels to lobby for “the recognition of the Palestinian State”.
He added that would be his Government’s “first commitment” for this legislative term.
Spain holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union until the end of the year, although Sánchez’s position contrasts that of other European leaders.
“We demand the immediate ceasefire of Israel over Gaza and the strict compliance with international humanitarian law that is clearly not being respected today,” Sánchez said previously.
He is set to travel to Israel on November 23 with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo and is expected to visit Palestinian territories during his stay.