Wed, May 21, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Spanish defense minister gives birth to first child

AP , MADRID

Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon gave birth to her first child on Monday. Chacon, 37, who is Spain’s first female defense minister, had a 2.8kg boy in her hometown of Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona, said Josep Maria Lailla, chief obstetrician at San Joan de Deu Hospital.

The doctor said the baby would be named Miquel, the Catalan version of Miguel, after his father Miguel Barroso.

Lailla said Chacon, who is Catalan, and the baby are both fine.

Chacon had been due to testify before parliament for the first time yesterday to outline her policy, but the ministry requested a delay after she was admitted to the hospital to have the baby.

One question raised by Chacon’s appointment was whether she would take the full 16 weeks of maternity leave she is entitled to. This remains unknown.

Chacon was the highlight of the new Cabinet appointed last month by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who won re-election in March and has made gender equality a hallmark of his administration.

The Cabinet appointments not only gave Spain its first female defense minister but also featured nine women to eight men. That compares to a 50-50 split in Zapatero’s first term, when there were 16 ministers.

Photos of a pregnant Chacon reviewing soldiers the day she assumed her post ran on the front page of several newspapers and also dominated TV news coverage.

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