The case of Joan Gual de Torrella is curious insofar as the Balearic Ports Authority, of which he is president, is a state authority and yet he, as with previous presidents, was appointed by the regional government.
At the meeting of the ports authority’s board on Wednesday, Gual defended himself against the corruption allegations that had led to his arrest last week and to the arrests of four other senior directors. Prior to the meeting, he had said that he wouldn’t be tendering his resignation. He kept to his word.
For the Balearic government, life would be much simpler if Gual were to choose to fall on his sword. The cabinet is meeting today, and the cabinet may well decide that President Armengol should dismiss him; it was Armengol who appointed him. But the cabinet is PSOE-dominated. Més and Podemos are agitating for him to go and for Armengol to appear before parliament, make a statement and be grilled.
There is, it must be stressed, the principle of presumption of innocence, and I have found some of the reporting of this case objectionable in that Gual appears to have already been condemned. The PP’s Biel Company has highlighted his party’s adherence to this principle, but he nevertheless believes that Gual and the whole leadership should be replaced, as the reputation of the ports authority is being harmed. Despite this principle and an apparent presumption of guilt in some quarters, I’m inclined to agree with Company.