Joana Ortega, a Christian-Democrat close to Duran i Lleida as Vice President

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Barcelona (ACN).- The Spokesperson of the Christian-Democrat Catalan Nationalist Party, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC), will become the number two of the new Catalan Government. Joana Ortega is a psychologist, who made her political career in Barcelona City Council, first as a technician (starting in 1992) and then as a council woman (1996-2007). She also directed the Catalan Institute for Women, and the Womenu2019s National Council of Catalonia, pushing for gender equality. Now, Ortega will become the Vice President of the Catalan Government. She will be in charge of the public administration and institutional relations. That is to say, the relations between the Catalan Government, the Spanish Government and other public powers and administrations, in the whole of Spain and within Catalonia. Her role is key regarding competence devolution and the implementation of the current legislation, such as the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. In this domain, she will form a tandem with UDC leader, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, to whom she is both close and loyal. Duran i Lleida will continue being the spokesperson of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) in the Spanish Parliament. In addition, now, he will play a role in the negotiations between the Catalan Government and the Spanish State powers. He will also be involved in the Catalan foreign policy, which will directly managed by the Catalan Government’s Presidency Department and not the Vice Presidency.

Joana Ortegau2019s origins are far from political. She graduated in Psychology at the University of Barcelona. Later, she founded a mechanography school. However, she started being interested in politics by talking with her family and the father of the current Member of the European Parliament, Salvador Sedó. As she became more and more  political, she joined UDC in 1985. Finally, she sold her business and entered the Barcelona City Hall as a technician in 1992 at the Les Corts District. Her start at Barcelonau2019s City Hall coincided with the 1992 Olympics, golden times for the Catalan capital. In 1995, she became executive council woman for the Lu2019Eixample District. Between 1996 and 2007 she was council woman of the Barcelona City Hall.

In 1996, she joined the UDC governing committee. Gradually, her responsibilities in the party increased and she became Executive Vice President for Communications and Image, as well as the partyu2019s spokesperson. She has always been loyal to UDC President, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, with whom she will now form a political tandem while negotiating with the Spanish Government.

Ortega will be the Governmentu2019s Vice President but she will also be the Minister for Public Administration and Institutional Relations. However, recently her name was also suggested for the position of Minister for Social Welfare and Family. Indeed, Ortega is a defender of traditional family values, although she also promotes womenu2019s talents and her role in society. This Christian-Democrat was the Chair of the Catalan Institute for Women as well as the Womanu2019s National Council of Catalonia. Despite this, Ortega refuses to call herself a feminist.

In 2006, her name was on CiUu2019s lists for the Catalan Elections and she became a Member of the Catalan Parliament, where, in the last term, she served as Chair of the Women Rights Commission and member of the Control Commission for the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation (the CCMA, the public broadcasting body). Ortega was in charge of the law of the CCMA. She has been particularly critical of the former Left-Wing Government regarding its management of public media. She criticised, for example, the need for an appointment of the current CCMA President to be made by a two thirds and not an absolute majority.

Ortega comes from a large family and she has formed another one. She is married and has 3 children: 2 teenagers and 1 little girl adopted from China.