JAUME Matas now has just one month to negotiate a pact which will give him a working majority in the Balearic government, after Sunday's elections gave the Partido Popular (PP) 28 seats, one seat less than the last elections and not enough for an absolute majority.
But while lamenting the loss of the vital seat (in Ibiza), he stressed that the number of votes obtained (190'562 or 46.05 per cent of the total) was the best ever in the history of the PP in the Balearics.
Shortly after learning of his defeat, he said it was now necessary to open a period of reflection to see what type of agreements can be negotiated in Parliament and the chief Balearic institutions. (The PP also failed to win an absolute majority in the Council of Majorca and the Palma city council.)
But, he went on to say, while the number of votes received was a recognition of the PP's work over the past four years, it was insufficient to renew the absolute majority. Bad luck. It's the will of the people and must be respected, he said, adding that it was all part and parcel of life and politics. If people want a return to government by coalitions, it must be respected and nothing more can be done. We have done everything we could, he said.
Matas also congratulated the other parties for the results achieved.
But he would not be drawn on the possibility of a pact with the Majorcan Union (UM). A time to reflect is needed and any prediction would be hasty, he added.
Asked about the high rate of abstention, he said unfortunately it's something which is repeated in politics. The fact that people don't want to vote is a bad symptom but is nothing new. Abstention is generalised and it is up to the entire political class to analyse why. In Madrid, Mariano Rajoy, president of the PP and leader of the Opposition in the central government, said that the party was open to pacts which are sensible, reasonable and based on programmes in regions such as Balearics and Navarre where the PP had the most votes but lost the absolute majority.
He described the results in the Balearics as extraordinary. Maria Antonia Munar, who headed the lists for Parliament and the Council of Majorca for the UM; said that she was prepared to talk with all sides to achieve the best for Majorca although she declined to specify which parties would be best situated to pact with the UM.
The UM is considered to hold the key to government the Balearics, the Council of Majorca and the Palma city council.
Munar said that the election results made the UM the third political force in the Balearics. The UGT trade union spokesman Lorenzo Bravo said that the PP would rule in the Balearics in minority or through specific agreements with the UM, although he expressed the hope that whoever is in power, they will support a pact for the economic and social development of the islands.
But, he added, if a left wing pact headed the government, he hoped that it would be much more mature than the one which ruled between 1999 and 2003.
However, he added that did not believe that Maria Antonia, leader of the UM; would be prepared to make a pack with so many left-wing parties without guarantees.
José Benedicto, secretary general of the CC.00 trade union in the Balearics, said that the PP's loss of the majority was a punishment by voters and that the results indicated that society wants a change.
He said it was essential for the negotiations over the next few days should give rise to a government exempt from corruption and depradation of the land and which would also give more importance to cultural matters.
Matas must now call a plenary session of Parliament within a month, that is, before June 27, and the new leader of the Balearic government will be elected at that meeting.
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