THE new Mayors and town councillors took the oath of office yesterday, including Palma, which, for the first time, has a woman at the helm, Catalina Cirer of the conservative Popular Party (PP). Throughout the morning, most of the new councils of the 67 municipalities in the Balearics (53 in Majorca, eight in Minorca and six in Ibiza-Formentera) were sworn in. The exceptions were Soller, pending the resolution of a dispute which will be settled on July 4, and Formentera and Ciutadella (Minorca), where the ceremony took place in the afternoon. In addition to Palma, where the PP obtained its fourth consecutive absolute majority, the conservatives will rule, either alone or thanks to a pact, in most of the major municipalities in Majorca, including Calvia, Inca, Manacor, Llucmajor, Santa Margalida, Felanitx and Sa Pobla. In Calvia, the conservatives wrested power from the socialists, who had dominated the council for two decades (with Margarita Nájera as Mayor for the last 12), thanks to a pact with the Majorcan Union (UM), which means that Carlos Delgado (PP) will be Mayor. And British-born Kate Mentink has been named by Delgado as councillor for European affairs and tourism, the first time that such a responsible council position in Majorca has been given to a non-Spaniard. Nájera has resigned from her post as councillor elect in the opposition.
One of the biggest municipalities which breaks with the predominance of the PP is Alcudia, where the UM candidate Miquel Ferrer is Mayor, thanks to an agreement reached on Friday with the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Union).

Catalina Cirer, in her first speech as Mayor, said that being a woman meant a commitment “to real equality of opportunities between men and women through constant day to day work.” She said she would be “Mayor for everyone” and will rule “with the clear idea of continuing to make Palma a model of wellbeing, with “accessible housing, the chance to work, improvements to culture, amenities suited to our millennium and sustainable urban development, a tourist city with quality of life and security.” She added that she is committed to remodelling the sea front of Palma, and running the Paseo Marítimo underground, improving citizen security, boosting tourism and commerce, and setting up new green zones such as the Falca Verde, the ambitious green belt proposed for the area from the Paseo Mallorca to the Camino de Jesus. The PP has 15 councillors and the opposition comprises nine councillors of the PSOE, three of the United Left-Greens and two from the Majorcan Socialist Party. Cirer said that 17 of the councillors are holding office for the first time.
After the ceremony, outgoing Mayor Joan Fageda, Jaume Matas, the new leader of the Balearics, and former Balearic leader Gabriel Cañellas all congratulated Cirer. No members of the outgoing Balearic government attended the ceremony.

In Ibiza, the socialist Xico Tarrés is once again Mayor in the capital, the only municipality on the island which the Progress Pact coalition held on to. The other four municipalities will be ruled by the PP. Formentera will also have a PP Mayor, Jaume Costa Escanellas, thanks to an agreement settled on Friday by his party with the Independent Group of Formentera (GIF) and the Renovation Party of Ibiza and Formentera (PREF). Minorca, which will also have the only Island Council ruled by the left, has socialist Mayors in five of its eight municipalities: Mahon, Alaior, Es Castell, Sant Lluis and Es Migjorn. Es Mercadal continues to have a Mayor from the PSM (Minorcan Socialist Party), while the PP has recovered the council of Ciutadella, the second largest town on the island, with the support of the Minorcan Party. The big surprise came in Ferreries, where Josep Carreras, the candidate of the left-wing Entesa de l'Esquerra, was invested Mayor with the votes of the PP, putting an end to 24 years of centrist Mayors.


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