SOME important rules and regulations were changed or introduced in the Balearic Parliament yesterday, including a move to expel MPs who have legal charges pending against them.

The proposal is a radical one because as guidelines stand at the moment, an MP can only be ejected from the Balearic Parliament if he or she has been sentenced by a court for crimes that carry a jail sentence of more than 12 years.

Nevertheless, at the prompting of the “Bloc” party, a member of the governing Socialist-led coalition, Parliament decided yesterday that it will be easier to “suspend” an MP who has been implicated in a corruption scandal, so that he or she can be removed from his responsibility when legal proceedings begin rather than when they finish
Such a move, said a Parliamentary spokesman would have to be made with an absolute majority of votes, rather than with “a majority” as had been suggested by Bloc leader Biel Barcelo.

Another important change in Parliamentary rules agreed on yesterday was the number of MPs needed to form a separate political party. Currently it stands at four but is being lowered to three. This proposal apparently opens the door to a number of minority groups who may thus be able to take a place in Parliament after the local elections of 22nd May.

MPs expressed their satisfaction yesterday that there had been such a high level of consensus over the new Parliamentary guidelines which will be formally recognised during the next Balearic government.

Bloc member Antoni Alorda explained that following yesterday's agreement amongst MPs, a permanent European Commission Parliamentary committee is to be set up which will monitor EU policy and provide reports on how the Balearic Parliament needs to respond to it.

The Socialists said that the shake-up in regulations has pulled Parliament “out of a rut” and that its meetings and decisions will now be able to be more easily understood by the citizens of the Balearic Islands.