THE newly-elected leader of the Balearics, Jaume Matas, yesterday named his cabinet which will include a deputy leader, Rosa Estarás, and twelve ministers who will dedicate “24 hours a day, 7 days a week” to fulfilling the objectives of the Popular Party (PP) electoral programme. The members of the 6th Balearic Government have been hand-picked by Matas for their “ability and worthiness”, balancing a team “with experience and freshness of vision that will guarantee capable management.” The new Executive will be made up of 12 ministers, two fewer than the previous government under the Progressive Pact coalition.
Rosa Estarás is named deputy leader, a political role where, as well as holding the title of Minister for Institutional Relations, she will be responsible for internal government co-ordination. The Ministry of Tourism will be headed up by Joan Flaquer, who will also act as Spokesman for the Executive. María Rosa Puig is Sports Minister.
Francesc Fiol is appointed Education and Culture Minister in the new Balearic government; Mabel Cabrer will be responsible for the Ministry of Public Works, and José María Rodríguez will be at the head of the Civil Service and Minister for the Interior. Tomás de Villanueva Cortés has been put in charge of Agriculture and Fisheries and Aina Castillo takes the title of Minister for Health and Consumer Issues. The new cabinet will be completed by Guillermo de Olives as Minister for Employment and Professional Development; Josep Juan Cardona will lead the Department for Commerce, Industry and Energy; Jaume Font is Minister of the Environment, and Lluís Ramis de Ayreflor will direct the Ministry of Economy. “With every due respect to our predecessors,” the new Balearic government president declared, comparing the structure of his recently created team with that of the Progressive Pact coalition, “there was clearly a portioning out of power and individual departments functioned only within their own confines and not as a cohesive whole. “You are already familiar with my way of working” he continued, addressing journalists to explain that the new Executive is a “government exclusively dedicated to work and management” which will fulfil its commitments “as soon as possible.” The reduced number of ministers is a deliberate move to give greater flexibility to the Executive management, commented Matas.
Matas, formerly the central minister of the environment, is also the president of the Partido Popular in the Balearics and has been in continuous touch with its leadership in order to provide them with up-to-the-minute information on his cabinet selection which will include no members from other parties. Additionally, Matas wanted to emphasize that the smaller islands in the Balearics will have their own representatives in the new government: Josep Juan Cardona in the case of Ibiza and Formentera, and Guillermo de Olives in the case of Minorca. The Balearic leader appeared punctually at midday yesterday for his first Press conference at the Consolat de Mar, the central offices of the Executive, where tomorrow the new government will hold its first meeting. Matas announced his intention of getting down to tackling the government's heavy agenda. He asked for “patience” from the reporters to allow him time to put his first measures into operation, which will be related to tourism and improvement in the infrastucture of the archipelago. On the subject of his return to the office of the Balearic government which he led from 1996 to 1999, Matas acknowledged that although it “had undergone many changes,” many memories were flooding back to him. “I am very happy to return to the seat of power and do so with high professional expectation; I have a great deal of faith in this legislature and in the people who have been appointed to run it” concluded the new Balearic leader in his first public appearance. Later yesterday, Matas put his signature to the selection he had made for the new government so that details could be published in the Official Balearic Gazette (BOCAIB). Final takeover of the seat of power will take place today, at midday.