By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
BALEARIC president Jaume Matas hit back at his opponents yesterday telling a full parliamentary session that he has “nothing to hide” with regards to the alleged Andratx corruption scandal. “This government has a zero tolerance policy on corruption,” Matas stated before urging all the opposition political groups to behave responsibly and remain focused on the real issues. “Don't forget who the bad guys are,” he said. “The people suspected of corruption are neither the members of the Partido Popular nor the members of this government, the suspects are in the hands of the judiciary and I am not prepared to allow a small minority to damage the honour and integrity of the party,” Matas made clear.

However, the Socialists are not backing down in their attack on Matas and his, what they have called, “suspicious” behaviour fuelled by his meeting with the disgraced ex-Mayor of Andratx Eugenio Hidaldo just a few days before he was arrested. Socialist party spokesperson Francina Armengol accused Matas of trying to “cover up the PP's embarrassment” with his tough talk and repeated her accusation that the Balearic president was well aware of the situation in Andratx.

She told parliament that, until Matas provides an explanation to the Balearic people “he is unfit to hold a public post.” The PSM Majorcan Nationalist Party went a step further yesterday, that Matas should consider his position.
For his part, Matas has admitted responsibility for having allowed Hidalgo to dissolve his Andratx Alliance Party and join the PP, but he maintains that he and his government have responded to the Andratx scandal in the only way possible and have acted with “transparency”.

What Matas is most worried about, however, are the insinuations about corruption on other councils and rumours of further police raids and more possible arrests.

NATIONAL SCANDAL

The PP want to call the Director General of the Guardia Civil and the National Police, Joan Mesquida, before Congress in Madrid to explain the Andratx operation and whether or not he shared privileged information with leading members of the Balearic Socialist party. Fear of further fraud squad action against other PP councils was sparked by claims made by the leader of the PSOE-PSIB socialists, Francesc Antich, that as many as 20 other councils were being investigated.

This was then followed by an anonymous call made to the Balearic government last Friday warning that five councils were to be swooped on yesterday.
The PP want to know how this information was leaked from the security services.
But, Mesquida may not be alone in facing Congress.
Socialist members of Congress said yesterday that the Andratx corruption scandal had become “a national issue” and that the President of the Partido Popular and leader of the opposition in Spain, Mariano Rajoy, should break the PP's “silence” and explain what is going on.

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