JOAN Fageda will be leaving Balearic politics after holding the position of Mayor in Palma for 12 years and spending some months in a Parliamentary position. His challenge now is to work in the central government Senate for the Balearics. He is hopeful that his experience may still prove useful for people on the Islands. l Mayor, regional deputy, and senator. Can a politician hope for more?
No, a person couldn't reasonably ask for anything else. I've been privileged to have the trust of my party and I have had the opportunity to enjoy contact with thousands of individuals from the general public during my time as Mayor of Palma. l What do you feel when people in the street still refer to you as Mayor?
I feel a great deal of gratitude and satisfaction, I assure you. People greet me, ask me things and I really appreciate it. I am still aware of the affection of the people of Palma. l What was the reason behind you asking your party for a change of direction, from Balearic politics to the Senate?
I've always had plenty of links with national politics. During my 12 years as Mayor, I have had contact with representatives of many different political colours. In this respect, I've developed good relations in this sphere and hope to be able to serve a useful purpose in the Senate. l Or is that another way of saying that you are going to take your place in the Senate and work hard for the interests of the Balearic Islands?
Let no one doubt it. I think that with the knowledge that I have, after remaining so long in Balearic politics, it is worth taking advantage of such accumulated experience for the good of the Islands. There are plenty of problems that need sorting out and I shall be there to try and help. l Wouldn't you rather have been the candidate in Congress?
I talked about this with Jaume Matas when he was in central government. He said that I shouldn't discount being considered “number one” in the Popular Party in Congress, but I put it to him that were such a thing possible, I would prefer to take a seat in the Senate. I recognise the fact that the politics are “heavier” in Congress, but taking into consideration my protracted political career and time of life, the Senate suits me better. Apart from that, Maria Salom is a first rate candidate for our party. l Would it be a disaster for the Balearics if Zapatero (central government Opposition Socialist leader) were to become the next Prime Minister of Spain?
I think it would be, and not only for Rodríguez Zapatero who has the respect of all political parties. Right at this moment, considering there is so much in-fighting amongst leftist factions, and bearing in mind the experience we had in the Balearics with the previous Socialist coalition, which didn't really do a great deal, I shudder to think of Zapatero as prime minister supported at a national level by Carod-Rovira and Llamazares. I certainly don't think that would be the best option for either Spain or the Balearics . Even though our own Popular Party might have many faults, we have to be thankful for and take advantage of the fine relations that central government and the Islands are enjoying at the moment, for the sake of our own Community. I believe that Mariano Rajoy, currently deputy prime minister will be the best option for our country at the coming elections. l Do you think the Socialists will suffer a resounding electoral defeat in the Balearics on 14 March?
I don't believe in electoral disasters. No one can ever sing about total victory, but I'm clear about one thing and that is that it is only the Popular Party that can offer realistic policies; and I say that without condemnation of the Opposition. l What is your view of the leftist coalition in the Balearics?
They're trying, but the reason why they are uniting their forces is to obtain the maximum amount of votes, but they are not agreed on key principles. That's what happened to the previous Socialist government during their 4-year term of office. I would point, as an example, to the polemic surrounding the exhibition area in Palma. The issue was supported by the then Balearic leader, Francesc Antich, but other parties within the coalition wouldn't give it their backing. The whole ethos doesn't make sense. The idealism of such left-wing unions is fine but they aren't united in their political programme apart from opposing the Popular Party. l Do you think that Jaume Matas, the current Balearic leader, will abandon the Balearics before the Popular Party's 4-year term of office is up?
I doubt it. In politics, you can never predict anything with certainty, but I believe in his personal commitment to the Balearics. People sometimes have their own personal agenda, but Jaume wants to see the programme through here on the Islands.