Francina Armengol speaking ahead of the new parliamentary season in the Balearics.

26-01-2017Javier Coll

President Armengol yesterday called on Podemos and all political parties to show responsibility in overcoming the Balearic parliament's institutional crisis. She expressly asked Podemos to guarantee that there will not be a repetition of the Xelo Huertas affair.

The president said that as leader of the executive rather than the legislature, she has not proposed anyone to take over as parliament's president (speaker), but she added that Podemos "should take note" of what has happened.

Negotiations are currently being conducted in order to arrive at a successor to Huertas. Armengol, insisting that she isn't judging anyone or deciding on suitability, nevertheless stressed that suitability should be important so that parliament doesn't cause (further) problems for the citizens.

Armengol explained that the situation was complex and difficult and had arisen because of a Podemos internal crisis. This, however, was not affecting the Balearic government, which is "functioning" and is "an example to many parts of Spain". The new speaker, she emphasised, must "represent the whole parliament, one that is open to the citizens".

The first session of parliament this year is tomorrow, and the spending of the tourist tax revenue is due to be high on the agenda. Vicenç Thomas of PSOE, the first vice-president of parliament, will be in the speaker's chair.

In broader terms, Armengol spoke yesterday about 2017 being a year of consolidation and for introducing other things, in particular a new system of regional financing, which is "key in order to obtain justice for the citizenship". There will also be important new laws this year: for holiday rentals and for housing.

On the holiday rentals' legislation, Armengol observed that it is a law which is necessary because of the islands' social and economic realities. "There will be intense debate and I hope that this will serve to bring about political and social consensus." It is essential, she continued, for there to be "balance" in the current tourism boom, including the need to make housing accessible to the citizenship.

PSOE's parliamentary spokesperson, Andreu Alcover, added that the hope for the housing law is that it will improve the current situation, one in which there are many empty properties in the hands of banks and many families which cannot gain access to them.

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