Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has reshuffled his Cabinet and named a new finance minister on Tuesday in an attempt to tackle the worsening economic crisis. Unemployment is surging and the first Spanish bank failure was announced just 10 days ago.

Elena Salgado will replace Pedro Solbes as economy minister having previously held the position of public administration minister, and previously serving as minister of public health.

Solbes has expressed repeatedly that he would like to step down since taking the job in 2004. He has also had increasing clashes with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero over how to best tackle the economic crisis.

“The fight against the economic crisis is our highest priority and it’s in a decisive phase,” Zapatero said. “There needs to be a change of rhythm to push ahead, with new strength, in a new period, especially during the first semester of 2010 when Spain will hold the (rotating) presidency of the European Union.”

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