MAJORCAN-born Felix Pons, ex President of Spain's House of Representatives (Congress) has died at the age of 68 after a long and distinguished political career.

Due to ill health, Pons had given up his seat in government 15 years ago and was unable to attend last month's celebrations in Congress of the centenary of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). He had maintained links with the PSOE even after leaving politics.

Pons was born in Palma in 1942, a lawyer and descendant of another Spanish politician, Antonio Maura after whom a street of the city is named. Pons began his political career in 1975 when he entered the PSOE and was later elected President of the Balearic Socialist Federation and President of Congress.

In July 1985 he was named Territory Minister in the second government of Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, and in 1989 he was re-elected to the post of President of Congress. As leader of Spain's equivalent of the House of Commons, he made many official tours and sat on the jury of the Prince of Asturias Prize for excellence in literature, arts and science.

In 1993 he was the PSOE's parliamentary candidate in the Balearics and was elected as an MP in June that year. It was however, at this time that Pons announced his aim to leave politics to devote his time to the law. In 1996, having left Congress, he took up an appointment at the Balearic University. In May this year, Pons was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Balearic Parliament for his role in establishing a democratic government.