By Jason Moore

THE Speaker of the Balearic parliament, Maria Antonia Munar, formely stepped down yesterday after quitting the job last week when a former political ally said that she had handed him 300'000 euros in cash to buy a TV production company which is now at the centre of a police probe into the mis-use of public funds.

The Speaker´s chair remained empty as parliament returned to work yesterday and still there is no word on who the new speaker will be.
Munar, who denies any allegations of corruption or mis-using public funds, said in a statement yesterday that she would co-operate with the judge investigating any alleged mis-use of public funds involving the Video U TV production company.

She also said that she would be temporarily stepping down from the Majorcan Unionist Party, a political party she once presided over. Her former political ally, ex-tourism minister Miguel Nadal, also said that he was leaving the party yesterday.

Both Munar and Nadal have already been questioned by a judge who is investigating claims that public funds were mis-used when Munar was President of the Council of Majorca and Nadal was her deputy. The Majorcan Unionist Party, which once formed part of the governing local government coalition, is reeling from the corruption allegations with senior members either being questioned or charged by police. Political commentators say that there is a danger that the party could disappear completely. Meanwhile, Balearic President Francesc Antich is still battling to remain in power.

His coalition government no longer has a majority in the local parliament after he expelled the Unionists over corruption allegations. Antich says that he wants to remain in power even though he now has a minority government. It was also reported yesterday that he is not ruling out the possibility of trying to form a pact once again with the Unionists. The opposition Partido Popular has called on Antich to call early elections because of the political crisis or resign. Antich´s left wing/nationalist coalition not only rules the Balearic government it is also in charge of the Council of Majorca and the city council. All three leading local institutions face an uncertain future because of the present political crisis.