Francina Armengol will be meeting party leader Pedro Sanchez.

19-08-2014Toni Escobar

Francina Armengol, the leader of PSOE in the Balearics, will be in Madrid today to attend a convention at which the party’s national leader, Pedro Sánchez, will be confirmed as the PSOE prime ministerial candidate at the general election towards the end of the year.
The gathering will also be presented with PSOE presidents from the regions of Spain.
It is unlikely that Armengol will be one of them: there are now further doubts surrounding her investiture as Balearic president this coming week.

Break the agreement
The statement by David Abril of Més on Friday that Més are seeking the presidencies of both the Majorcan and Minorcan councils has been confirmed by messages coming from the party’s committees in both Majorca and Minorca.
They have been telling the party’s leader, Biel Barceló, to break the agreement to support Armengol’s investiture unless PSOE accepts that Més can have the presidencies of the councils.
Més seem prepared to allow the investiture to drag on. It doesn’t have to take place this week - up to sixty days from the time of the election are allowable - but a delay will not present a good image of the coalition (if indeed it can be formed). This was precisely the point that Més had made last week with regard to the election of the president (Speaker) of the parliament, and they had been willing to accept and support Armengol’s presidency of the government in order that any bad image could be avoided.

Pragmatists
From having been the pragmatists and the diplomats in the coalition negotiations, they have now become the hardball players: PSOE, via its spokesperson Pilar Costa, are again insisting that there was agreement that the presidency of the government was separate from negotiations regarding the councils. PSOE are even talking of there now being a form of “blackmail”.
Més, however, might well have reason to feel aggrieved. Barceló’s call for plurality had been one with the councils’ presidencies in mind.
Though the Més candidate for the Council of Majorca presidency, Miquel Ensenyat, was relaxed on Friday about who would in the end be president, an assumption had existed for several days prior to Friday’s discussions with the PSOE and Podemos candidates, Francesc Miralles and Jesús Jurado, that Ensenyat would be the next president.

Alarm bells
Though Ensenyat did not react negatively to Miralles’ statement at the end of the Friday meeting that he had not given up on the possibility of himself being president, alarm bells went off elsewhere in Més: hence, David Abril’s later statement and the local committees calling for a break in the investiture agreement. Where the Council of Minorca is concerned, this is an even greater stumbling block for Més, for in Minorca three Més affiliated deputies (from Més per Menorca) were elected to the parliament.
In relative terms, this represents a more significant role for Més in Minorca than in Majorca: three Més deputies out of 13 from Minorca, compared with six out of 33 from Majorca.
But it has also emerged that there are other obstacles. One is that Més want Armengol to extract from Sánchez a firm commitment to improve the financing of the Balearics in the event that he becomes Spanish prime minister. Further ones have to do with positions in the regional government.
 Biel Barceló has accepted that he would be Armengol’s vice-president and that he would have the portfolio for economic affairs.
But Més also have designs on specific ministries and one of them is tourism. PSOE are highly reluctant to agree to this, and the eco-tax that has been spoken about is one reason: PSOE are not as committed to this as Més, while they are also fearful as to what a Més-led tourism ministry would mean for relations with the hotel sector.

Minority government
Armengol is now facing the possibility that PSOE may have to operate as a minority government with neither Més nor Podemos formally part of a coalition (Podemos already having ruled themselves out).
 Things could of course change dramatically and her investiture next week could be assured, and as there have been that many twists and turns thus far, even this can’t be ruled out.

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