STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
FOLLOWING his State of the Nation address yesterday - 120 days after taking over as president of the Balearic Islands - Francesc Antich was answering his critics in the Islands' parliament, in particular Opposition spokesman Rosa Estarás who has accused him of “lacking in leadership”.

Antich insisted that in order for lasting, peaceful change to take place, rushing through legislation within the limited period of time he had been in office was simply not feasible. Asserting that although no time had been lost, he was anxious to get as much consensus as possible before crystallising policy and enshrining it in law.

Without alluding repeatedly to the previous Balearic government led by the Partido Popular, Antich said that “if things are done in a hurry, we are witness to the fact that they don't last.” He added that the last 120 days have seen a great deal of consultation, planning, debating and preparation. “When everyone has had their say and received answers to their questions,” he announced to an audience of supporters including representatives of national and regional socialists, a left-wing coalition and the Unió Mallorquina party, “we can stand solidly and take our policies forward.” Antich stressed yesterday that his intention was to reach all sectors of society on the Island, encompassing all nationalities who contribute to the economic life of the Islands. He confirmed that he wishes to push for even more central government funding than he has so far done during his second term as president of the Balearics, to support what he termed the “floating population” of the region.

He pointed to essential services that are provided by the Balearic community to support the immediate needs of a migrant worker sector, as well as facilities that are made available to an international tourist community.

Rosa Estarás undercut Antich's assurances by saying that it was the fringe parties that pacted with the new Balearic leader that held sway over him, as opposed to the other way round.

She claimed this created a lack of confidence in his leadership as a change of mind amongst his supporting politicians would cause instability in government. The PP however will support Antich in matters of health and housing.

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