THE incoming President of the Balearic government, Jaume Matas, in his investiture speech yesterday, promised to give a much needed boost of confidence to a society that, according to him, had become depressed following four years under a Socialist coalition government. Matas declared he will introduce liberal policies tallying economic development with quality of life. As was emphasized during the electoral campaign that culminated in the elections of 25 May and an absolute majority for the Partido Popular, his aim is to “revitalize the confidence and hope of a society that seemed to have sunk into a rut of complete depression”. The exercising of “liberal” government would be conducted on behalf of, and supported by, “a society that is clearly liberal”. Nevertheless, he made a special point of saying that this liberalism is compatible with the defence of law and order, the promotion of an economic policy “that generates wealth and employment”, “an environment that is carefully managed”, “responsibility in public spending” and unambiguous, honest government strategy. Matas criticized forms of “extreme reductionism that directly oppose economic development, environmental balance and quality of life”. Such policy, suggested Matas, inextricably links the protection of nature with job sacrifice. Furthering this theme, he condemned those who labelled tourism as the “source of all our misfortune”, and defended “heads of industry, investors and workers who took a lead in the economy” in contrast to that suggested by “wandering economic theories”. With the purpose of re-establishing “the Balearics as a top tourist destination”, the Partido Popular candidate pledged the “recuperation of our image” and guaranteed investment in tourist infrastructure. He pointed out that a simple announcement made by the victorious Partido Popular concerning their intentions to repeal the tourist tax had already had “positive effects” in the marketplace. In spite of the fact that the eco-tax, commonly known as the tourist tax, was to be eliminated, Matas nevertheless insisted that investment would be made in preserving the Islands' natural environment, because tourism and the environment “will be our political priority linked to the creation of jobs and quality of life.” Matas declared that “in the name of liberty”, the Partido Popular had opened up public debate in an “untheatrical and uncomplicated way on issues that had long lain dormant in society. Such vital subject matter had become submerged in a sea of silent despondency as people could see that politics followed one road and reality another.” “You can't arrogantly impose any language of an elitist choosing on an unwilling people, you can't ignore sociolinguistic realities on a global scale, you can't forcibly take away from people the choice of where they want to be educated or caricature bi-lingualism and our native language”, drove home the PP candidate, who advocated a “peaceful and civilised” coexistence. He brought to mind as well the fact that before the end of the recent electoral campaign, he had already expressed his commitment to obtaining the fullest consensus possible on a series of issues, such as plans for land management, highways, energy, waste and water. Keen for the perspective of “overall public interest” to be seen as a benchmark, Matas was anxious to dispense with the image of the ”portioning out of power”, which had become so familiar under the Socialist coalition. “Stability and governability” are therefore the two key themes, according to Matas, which underpin the agreement that has been signed between the Partido Popular and Union Majorca for the duration of the next four years. The development of the “Special Régime of the Balearics” - a territorial arrangement linked to law and order; to offer quality health care to all; to maintain the social fabric of farming and fishing industries; furthering industrial and business production and in general the success of small and medium sized companies, are some of the proposals put forward by the ex Minister of the Environment. The investiture's inaugural speeches will continue today with replies to be given by remaining political groups and with voting to take place on Matas' candidacy.

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