By Jason Moore

BELEAGURED Balearic President, Francesc Antich, said yesterday that he was not ruling out early elections after his coalition government appeared to be in meltdown.

Antich said that he wanted to continue to govern the islands with a minority government and called on the opposition to act responsibly. However, his left-wing coalition government appears to be doomed because the opposition Partido Popular are threatening a vote of no-confidence. “Now is the time to work together and restore the public´s faith in politics,” he said in a clear reference to the recent cases of political corruption which led him to expel the Majorcan Unionist Party from his coalition government.

Antich said that the resignation of the Speaker of the Balearic Parliament, Maria Antonia Munar would have little effect on his government. Munar quit on Friday night after a former political ally and ex-minister for tourism, Miguel Nadal, claimed that she had handed him 300'000 euros in cash in an official car to buy a TV production company which is now at the centre of a police investigation into the mis-use of public funds.

Yesterday, it was reported that Pere Rotger, the Deputy Speaker who is a leading member of the opposition Partido Popular, could be named as the new speaker. Antich declined to make any comment on who the next speaker would be.

The Balearic President did say, however, that Munar had “done the right thing” in presenting her resignation. His comments were echoed by the other political parties.

Meanwhile yesterday the Partido Popular called on Antich to call early elections because his government was discredited. However, there is some concern that the turnout if and when early elections are called, would be low because of all the cases of alleged political corruption which have dogged both the Partido Popular and the Majorcan Unionist Party. Former Balearic President Jaume Matas is set to appear in court next month to answer charges of mis-using public funds in the construction of the Palma Arena velodrome.