Spain's leader of the socialist opposition party, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, praised the Balearic government and Chief Minister Francesc Antich in Palma yesterday, describing the coalition government, which includes left wing and nationalist party members, as progressive and exciting. During his second visit to Palma since becoming leader of the Spanish Socialisy Party (PSOE) last July, Zapatero stressed the need for regional governments in Spain to be given more respect and importance by central administration. He explained that his vision for Spain in the 21st century will be based on a more federal style of government, with a much greater level of consensus between central government and the 17 regional leaders in Spain. Zapatero said that he is more than prepared to continue supporting all Socialist party leaders in Spain, including Antich, and commented on the greater level of political stability Antich's government has brought to the Balearics. Zapatero explained that in the conservative Partido Popular's final term in government the party had three different leaders. The leader of the opposition scotched claims that he would relieve regional barons of some of their powers. He said that the progressive model Antich has created in the Balearics is an attractive model for local government, which needs to be supported as such a model for power will be important in the future. However, interestingly, Zapatero is not an advocate of regional nationalism. I'm fron Leon, Spain, Europe and the world, he said, adding what is important is not who you are, or who you think you are, but how you look at the world. People who claim their culture or language is better than another, he said, do not help the status quo. Zapatero is a man of moderation and democracy and believes Spain's various languages have a place and role, but he does not speak Catalan you've got to be objective, he replied when asked.
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