Staff reporter

THE UM, Majorca Union party's acceptance of Partido Popular's offer of control in government of the Council of Majorca during the next period of office, brings to bear an agenda of policies agreed by both parties, but leaves the management of social affairs to the Partido Popular, presided over by Jaume Matas. María Antonia Munar, President of Majorca Union party, made the announcement that opted in favour of Partido Popular's offer late on Tuesday night, following a meeting of her party's executive advisory council. This decision was to the detriment of the plans of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party which wanted a joint government presided over by the Majorca Union party leader with specific support from the Majorcan Nationalist Party, and the United Left/Green Party coalition. In the elections of 25th May, the Partido Popular won 16 seats in the Majorcan Council, one short of an absolute majority, while the leftist parties totalled 14 with 9 from the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, 3 from the Socialist Party of Majorca and 2 from the United Left/Green Party coalition, so that the three councillors elected from the UM became the deciding factor in the institution of government. María Antonia Munar thanked “the Spanish Socialist Workers Party for the effort it had made” to set up a coalition in spite of “little interest” shown by other leftist parties whose “pledge of support was limited to a token vote of confidence”. “The Partido Popular's proposal allows us to govern the Council of Majorca; as always we had asked for management by the Majorca Union party to be kept separate as ours is a liberal centrist party”, emphasized the party leader, who was keen to make the point that the agreement with the Partido Popular will allow her to apply her electoral programme in the most important areas of Majorca's future. As a result, her future governmental control in Majorca, with the backing of the Partido Popular, will endorse the “Territorial Plan” concerning land issues on Majorca and her projects for highways, that include the second Palma ring road (part of which has already been built, see graphic second ring road built, second ring road to be built) and a design for the Palma-Manacor motorway that respects the existing route. Other road plans include a new motorway from Palmanova to Paguera (extension of the existing motorway), from Arenal to Llucmajor and Inca to Manacor, as well as improvements on the roads from Palma to Inca and Manacor. Similarly, she highlighted the fact that she will be able to develop her party's plans with regard to urban waste projects including the installation of the “necessary waste incinerators”. Additionally, she will develop the Special Régime of the Balearics, a capital status law and an energy plan that includes a gas pipeline for the transport of natural gas and an electric cable link-up with the mainland of Spain. Munar also drew attention to projects that will be carried out in conjunction with the Partido Popular which were also included in her electoral programme - the modification of the structure of nature reserves so that they only include public lands or privately-owned tracts where owners wish to be included in the scheme; the elimination of inheritance tax and freedom to choose education centres, amongst others. “This is the programme that we had always defended”, insisted the leader of the UM, who pointed out that as she still had to “firm up” some “points” of the agreement with the Partido Popular, she left open the possibility of accepting the “resistance support” from the leftist parties in the event of the Partido Popular “taking a retrograde step”. She made it clear that the agreement does not affect possible local municipal coalitions, in which the autonomy of local party groups is respected, although she acknowledged that yesterday's decision “influences” town council negotiations. Regarding ceding total power to the Partido Popular in controlling a newly formed public body governing social affairs, Munar gave assurances that this is a “fine solution” proposed by her party.

Business sector welcomes political pact

THE PP-UM Council of Majorca pact was yesterday welcomed by the local business sector.
President of the Majorcan Small Business Association, Demetrio Peña, said that the pact “was what was expected, it will bring some much needed stability and calm to the business community and help resolve the tourism crisis and the problems it is causing.” Demetrio Peña admitted that Tuesday night's announcement came as no surprise: “the only party with anything sensible to offer is the Partido Popular,” he said, adding “they govern in Madrid, Palma and a large number of local councils.” “Now we've got the power to solve the German crisis ourselves and the tourists will start returning to the island,” he said.
Peña, with regards to the newly elected president of the Balearics Jaume Matas, said “he provides the stability and confidence necessary and has shown his capabilities as Minister for the Environment and former Balearic president.” The president of the small business association also considers Maria Antonia Munar, president of the Council of Majorca, to be just as “solid.” He said that the leader of the Majorcan Union party has shown again that she is one of the political heavyweights in the Balearics “despite the UM being a minority party.” “It's got nothing to do with how many votes you win, Munar knows what she wants and where she's going, that's why she will preside over the Council of Majorca again. “But, at the end of the day, what's most important for business people is that the government and paliament in Palma, even the Council of Majorca, will govern on the same side.”

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