BALEARIC VICE-PRESIDENT HITS BACK

SUGGESTIONS by Spanish deputy prime minister, Rodrigo Rato, that the Balearic government should recognise its responsibilities and accept the blame for the decline of the region's economy and tourist industry, have rattled Balearic president Francesc Antich's cabinet. Rato, in Palma on Tuesday to provide some political support to the Partido Popular's candidate for regional president, said that present Balearics government is responsible for managing the regional economy overcome the tourist crisis “is bad propaganda for the Balearics, especially within and tourism, not central government. Yesterday, Antich's right-hand man, local minister for commerce, Pere Sampol hit back, accusing Rato of “going against the best interests of the Balearic economy and tourism.” Sampol claimed that Rato's call for a change in Balearic government in order to the realms of the Spanish industry.” He also said that by proclaiming that the local economy is in a “catastrophic” condition, Rato is only causing more damage.
However, Sampol carried on to repeat the error Rato urged the Balearic government against, he blamed Madrid. “Central government has marginalised and punished the Balearics and has now got itself involved in a battle which will inflict even more damage to the local economy,” Sampol said, adding that all the accusations made against the Balearic government “are based of lies.” “Consult any of the countries working either commercially or industrially with the Balearics and they will say that the present local government has done more than the previous PP administration to develop trade relations,” Sampol said. With regards to the local tourism crisis Rato expressed serious concerns about, Sampol claimed that the sharp decline in the German market has been caused by the September 11 attacks in the United States and that “absurd war in Iraq Aznar got us involved with.” Rato assisted at the official presentation of Jaume Matas as the PP candidate for president and along with his fellow candidates standing for local government on Tuesday night. Rato told the PP faithful that the local elections next month are especially important for the future of the Balearics and said that the alternative to the Partido Popular is a government “of arguments but not answers.”

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