ESQUERRA UNIDA: UNITED LEFTTHE name for the Communists. The main original communist party in Spain was the Partido Comunista de España but in 1995 the critical group of the party opted for a new look and became Izquierda Unida, or Esquerra Unida in the Balearics. In 1999 EU made a pre-electoral pact with the green party, Els Verds and formed lists with alternate participation for the Balearic Parliament and town councils. The result was that they won four Balearic seats and seven councillors in the islands, particularly in Palma and Arta. They then went on to form part of the Progress Pact and this meant that Eberhard Grosske became the Balearic Minister of Labour, and the named representative for the Balearics in the Senate in Madrid was a communist member for the first time. At present it is not known if the Progress Pact will be made up of the same parties as naturally that will depend on the election results but recent declarations in the local Spanish press indicate that the extreme left members of the pact are not very happy with the more right wing member, U.M. Their web page for the Balearics does not give very much definite information but the national site does list endless recommendations for town vouncils, most of which are common to all the parties. So what are the differences? Although they do not state exactly how they intend to obtain this, their main hobby horse seems to be more public citizen participation. This would appear to be by forming different committees in different sections of public activity to be able to liaise with the councils. They naturally want to encourage the use of Catalan in the Balearics and join forces with the Green Party in their ecological ideas. For the Balearics they state that they want to:
Protect the rustic land, with no more residential buildings on it, and to contain the urban growth, particularly no new growth on the coast and no new urban centres.
Create large natural areas.
Define a policy of sustainable mobility and not a continuation of more roads, more speed, more capacity or more vehicles. Extend the train as far as Manacor.
Improve tourism by improving hotels, not building more five star ones.
Encourage friendly treatment of the tourist.
Take care of the environment, promote public transport and public health. No increases, just improvements.
Encourage tourism of conferences, sport, culture and education.
Improve the sea connection with the mainland and no increase in the airport.
Combat illegal tourist accommodation, and that all visitors should pay the ecotax by charging it at airports and ports, rather than hotels. This would need national application of the rule. l More public participation together with the politicians and experts.
For Palma they are advocating all these items, stressing a Palma that is safe, fair, cultural and educational, honest, transparent, sporting, healthy, city for women, and free of mobility problems. They want the state to transfer more money to the town councils to be able to cope with more responsibilities. This should include water, environment, town planning, housing, education, public safety, health and consumer affairs, traffic, transport, tourism, employment in local areas, social services, specific policies for women, the elderly, youth, children, invalids and social integration for immigrants. It would seem that they want to pass on much more responsibility to the town councils that would need far more financing from Madrid and also a lot of participation from the public.
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