The left-wing Balearic coalition was last night coming to terms with the loss of its second minister in two years. Misericordia Ramon, the Minister for Innovation and Energy, handed in her letter of resignation to Chief Minister Antich, just hours after the opposition Partido Popular spokesperson Gonzalez Ortea called for her political head. The minister's resignation came as a surprise, many political pundits would have favoured the odds on the agriculture minister, Mateu Morro, who has egg on his face, having spent the start of the year underlining the fact that the Balearics does not have any cases of mad cow. Not so. Ramon said she has resigned over an “error,” which was to sign an “steel clad” multi-million peseta contract with the previous manager of the Parc BIT technology park for which her ministry is responsible. According to the government's official spokesperson, Antoni Garcias, while Ramon signed the contract with Felio Morey, involuntarily, she has admitted it was an “error” and that her best option was to resign. Her resignation has been accepted by Antich. It appears that one of the clauses in the steel clad contract stated that whichever party broke the relationship, it would have to financially compensate the other for money outstanding on the ten-year-contract which stipulated an annual salary of 12 million pesetas. In the case of Morey, he would have been due some 112 million pesetas in compensation from the government, according to the PP's Ortea. Morey resigned just a few weeks ago, but both parties did finally manage to reach an agreement, releasing the government from paying such a high sum. Garcias hit back at the PP, accusing the previous government of having used such all-binding contracts as standard practice, but he said that the present government fully understands “that such contracts should not be used,” adding that Ramon did not sign the contract “with bad intentions.” But Ramon said yesterday that she is fully aware of the potential damage the situation could cause the coalition government and that it could return to haunt the government, with the opposition using it to dig away at the coalition's good image. Ramon is the second minister to have quit in the past two years. The first was the minister for agriculture, Joan Mayol, who resigned after losing the confidence of and ability to communicate with the farming and fishing sectors.

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