Munar unveils the hot lines.

A political war of words broke out yesterday over the decision by the Insular Council of Majorca to spend 10.217 euros of public money in helping one of the finalists in Spain's equivalent to the UK television show Pop Idol, Operacion Triunfo to win. Yesterday the President of the Insular Council, Maria Antonia Munar, unveiled the campaign to try and ensure that Majorca's candidate amongst the six finalists, the Argentine-born singer Chenoa, wins the show and the chance to sing for Spain at the forthcoming Eurovision song contest in Estonia. The final is to be aired on television on Monday night. Last Monday a record 12 million viewers watched the show which is gripping the country and it is now up to the votes of the general public to decide who the three finalists will be. The Insular Council has made six telephones available to the public at their Palma offices and the local authority will cover the costs of each of the 1.62 euros per two minutes calls. Chenoa is a singer at the casino, which is also launching its own campaign to mobilise as many members of the public as possible. Two huge posters for the Chenoa campaign went up at the Insular Council office yesterday and others will be plastered around Palma. Palma City Council is also launching its own campaign. Twenty telephones will be set up along the Borne over the weekend for the public to call the vote line free of charge, although the council is seeking a sponsor to cover the costs of the calls. But, while Munar said that the money being spent on the Chenoa campaign is an investment in youth and Majorca's profile, one of the callers used the free telephone to vote for his favourite finalist, which was not Chenoa. The Mayor of Palma, Joan Fageda, was yesterday told by United Left-Green Party councillors to leave the campaign to Munar and instead spend the money on helping young people in the city. Fageda was accused of jumping on the band wagon after Munar unveiled her initiative “it is not worth spending public money or council manpower in looking for a sponsor to help those competing in the competition.” Conservative Partido Popular spokesperson Joan Flaquer said “public funding would be better used on other things.” He agreed that helping to promote the island's image has its virtues and that other areas of Spain have launched similar campaigns for finalists from the area. Flaquer said it is logical that institutions will seek to make the most of such an opportunity to promote their own regions “but I hope this is the idea and that somebody's fame and success is not being used as an electoral issue....” Phone lines are now open,...


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