The Balearic parliament speaker, Balti Picornell, who was criticised for clearing the chamber. | Jaume Morey


Baltasar Picornell, the president (speaker) of the Balearic parliament has apologised for his decision to ask the media and the public to leave the chamber on Tuesday when there was to be discussion of a motion regarding the Partido Popular's Álvaro Gijón.

PSOE, Més and his own party Podemos have accepted the apology, still saying that Picornell got things wrong. The opposition parties are less inclined to let him off the hook.

Picornell acted in accordance with an article in the parliament's rules. In this respect, he didn't do anything wrong. It was the literal interpretation of the article which caused the fuss as well as the fact that it meant that the debate on Gijón wasn't held. For this reason, PSOE note that the PP was the "big beneficiary". The party also observes that the role of the presidency brings with it the consequences of the position.

While Més are asking that everyone moves on from Picornell's "error", Jaume Font of El Pi hopes that there will never be a repeat of something so "ridiculous".

The sharpest criticisms have come from the PP and Ciudadanos. Xavier Pericay of the C's believes that Picornell demonstrated his "incompetence" and "authoritarian attitudes". Pericay recalls that when he was proposed as president, Podemos said that he would be replaced if he was unable to show that he was capable of carrying out the role. The leader of the C's wants Podemos and the government parties to therefore consider removing him.

Marga Prohens of the PP argues that Picornell is not qualified for the post. When parliament next sits, she will be asking President Armengol for her views. Prohens holds Armengol responsible for Picornell having been chosen as the successor to Xelo Huertas and so wants some explanations for the "information blackout" which Picornell ordered.

Armengol has in fact pre-empted this questioning. She said yesterday that she believed that Picornell had made a mistake but praised him for having admitted to his mistake. "We all do things which are wrong, but many are unable to admit to this." She criticised politicians from the last period of government for having attacked "citizens' rights" and not having apologised. She added that, during the Bauzá government, the legislative chamber became "another ministry" of the government.