MORE than a fortnight after the ruling Balearic government coalition broke ranks when President Francesc Antich ousted the Majorcan Unionists (UM) amidst an alleged corruption scandal, the main opposition party in the Balearics - the Partido Popular (PP) - is to call a vote of “no confidence” in Palma City Council.

Jose Maria Rodriguez, PP Council Assembly President explained yesterday that his party has 14 councillors at City Hall, compared to the ruling party's 13 consisting of 11 Socialists and 2 members of the left-wing “Bloc” coalition. The 2 members from the Majorcan Unionist party who previously gave the coalition its majority, have had their power rescinded.

The vote of “no confidence” in the current City Council will most likely take place this Monday when Socialist Mayor Aina Calvo presides over a General Assembly. Rodriguez said the vote of “no confidence” was a challenge his party were constitutionally committed to making.

When asked about who the PP were going to present as a candidate, Rodriguez refused to be drawn on names but suggested it would most likely be a councillor who already had a major role to play at City Hall.

Rodriguez said that “one of the party's objectives” is to reach the municipal elections next year with the PP in power on Palma City Council. A major PP strategy is to have controlling positions within each of the Council's municipal contractors such as the cleaning and rubbish collection company, Emaya. The PP are not prepared to accept the secondary positions currently being offered them on the contractors' management boards.

Rodriguez said that he felt the time “had now come” for a vote on the future of the City Council because the ruling party were now in a minority and had not taken the correct democratic course of calling for a vote of confidence.

In a direct reference to Balearic President Francesc Antich's attempts to marginalise the powers of the opposition, Rodriguez said: “We (the PP) are capable of a great deal more than simply voting in the budget figures once a year.” Rodriguez pointed out that following the split in the coalition, his party had already offered to govern jointly on the City Council until the next elections but the Mayor had rejected the offer out of hand.