By Lois Jones

THE PSIB-PSOE (Balearic Socialists and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party) yesterday called upon the Majorcan Socialists, the United Left and the Green Party to hold a meeting on Monday in order to draw up details of an agreement with UM, the Majorcan Union party, with a view to possible joint control of the Council of Majorca. It was considered that the subject of the second ring road of Palma “doesn't have to be a spanner in the works” for the setting up of a progressive coalition in each of the islands' councils. The secretary general of the Socialist Federation of Majorca, Francina Armengol, gave a press conference to give details of the meeting of the executive committee that took place yesterday morning, during which strong support was established for the reassembling of the Progressive party coalition, the so-called rainbow coalition, in the Balearic Parliament which had existed during the last term of office. Following the elections of 25 May, the Partido Popular will be able to count on 16 councillors in the next legislature of the Council of Majorca, one short of an absolute majority, while the Majorcan Union (UM), with three representatives, is in a position to ally itself with the Partido Popular or to reassemble a coalition with the leftist groups (National Socialist Party, the Majorcan Socialist Party, United Left/Greens). Armengol asked for an “effort” to be made by the Majorcan Socialist Party, United Left and the Greens to hammer out a joint proposal that would enable a coalition to carry forward the policies established in the last two legislatures. She added that such a proposal should not be based on individual responsibility and power holding but on a joint active programme. Armengol, who declined to say if the proposal would mean the UM president, Maria Antonia Munar, having to step down from her position as head of the Majorcan council in favour of parties with more votes, left it clear that “for the PSIB-PSOE the future of the islands comes before any partisan interest”. On June 4, the Partido Popular offered the nationalists the position of being able to govern alone except in areas of social and sports policies would be managed by the Partido Popular, through a programme of projects agreed to by both parties. Reiterating the PSIB-PSOE theme that a coalition proposal “doesn't function according to individual responsibility and power but on ideology”, the Socialists state they would be in favour of giving up the presidency of the Majorcan council because the “titles of power are not the most important thing. First comes the future of Majorca.” With this view in mind, the secretary general of the Socialist Federation pointed out that “we are taking a gamble between being able to continue with the policies brought into play by the Progressive party coalition in the last years, of better social cohesion and territory limitations or of veering towards the policies of the Partido Popular: more motorways, more desalination plants and a different language policy.” Facing these differences, the Socialist Federation secretary general made a “special call” to Maria Antonia Munar's party “to act according to the ideals for the region that we have been building during the last eight years with the combined forces of progressive parties and not to be influenced by the uniform policies of José María Aznar and the Partido Popular. To the other members of a possible coalition, Armengol advised that it is better to “advance 25 per cent in each one of the programmes of the Progressive party coalition than to take a 100 per cent retrograde step in nationwide terms.” In this respect, the FSM Secretary General considered that the Majorcan Unionists needed time to think whether they were going to side with the Progressive Party coalition or with Partido Popular, trusted that the second Palma ring road - a project rejected by the Majorcan Socialist Party, the United Left and the Greens but agreed to by UM will not be the “spanner in the works” on the road to reaching a political agreement. “This project is not the most important for Majorca. “In that sense, it doesn't have to be the sticking point about reaching an agreement in the Insular Council of Majorca amongst the progressive parties. That which we risk is much more than this and that is the ideal.” Armengol did not want to further any comment on what would be the joint position on other controversial subjects such as the incinerators and the golf courses. “We have the political will to arrive at an agreement with all parties in the coalition.”

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