By Humphrey Carter

THE Balearics could be governed by a minority in the New Year after the Socialist-led coalition administration was rocked by further ruptures yesterday when the coalition member ERC, the Republican Left of Catalonia Party, ordered all of its seven politicians to resign from their executive positions in protest over the alleged corruption which is continuing to damage the government's image and the political system.

The ERC, which is a member of the Bloc group of far left nationalist parties, has a total of seven executive members in the government, the Council of Majorca and Palma City Council including the Council of Majorca's Interior chief and Director for Emergencies.

The ERC made its announcement just hours before Balearic President Antich publicly confirmed that he is going to shun the support of the suspended rebel Majorcan Unionist Party MP, Bartomeu Vicens, who was this week handed a four-and-a-half year jail term and banned from holding public office for eight years for the alleged misappropriation of public funds. He however is refusing to resign from the Mixed Group, with which he now sits in parliament, and intends to appeal.

The ERC want to force Antich's hand and push him into calling an early election in a move to restore public confidence in the government and win enough votes to no longer need the support of the Majorcan Unionist Party which has a number of MPs and top politicians, including the Speaker of the Balearic Parliament, under investigation as part of various alleged police probes into alleged corruption.

The coalition government has only recently approved a new code of conduct which is supposed to clearly state what action politicians have to follow in the event of them being implicated in a scandal. But, with Vicens refusing to resign as an MP and the former UM Minister for Tourism, Miguel Nadal, determined to keep his seat on Palma City Council, despite his implication in another alleged case of misappropriating public funds, Antich has decided to govern in minority and look for cross party support on key policy decisions.


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