By Jason Moore

FORMER Balearic leader, Francesc Antich, intends to step down as leader of the socialist party in the Balearics after their major election defeat on Sunday. It is unclear whether Antich is going or he has been asked to go. I must admit I am rather surprised but politics is a ruthless business.

Some say that he could become a Balearic senator in Madrid, others claim that he could leave politics. Antich has ruled the Balearics twice and he has always been an “accidental” leader forming a coalition when the Partido Popular failed to gain an overall majority. But on this occasion Antich´s socialists were well and truly beaten. I believe they lost for two reasons; firstly the economic crisis which has seen the popularity of Spanish Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero (also a socialist) fall considerably and then the fact that the socialists failed to get their message across in the local elections.

Obviously, Antich was ultimately responsible for this but I believe the socialists are making a big mistake if they dispatch their leader so quickly. There is still plenty of work to be done and a strong leader of the opposition is going to be needed. I think it is a bit early for the socialists to start organising leadership elections just weeks after their poll defeat. My advice to them would be to keep Antich in place until a new leader has been found and then the transition of power from one to the other can take place. Snap decisions are not welcome at the moment.