Fina Santiago, the social services minister, yesterday announced her intention to seek election as the Més candidate for president at the 2019 regional election. The party will hold an election to determine who will head the list of its candidates before the summer.
Santiago is a member of the Iniciativa Verds (Green Initiative) and a one-time member of the communist United Left. Més is essentially a coalition between the Iniciativa and the PSM Majorca Socialist Party. Miquel Ensenyat, the president of the Council of Majorca and a member of the PSM, looks set to run against Santiago.
At a press conference yesterday she said that she believes she is the candidate who will achieve the best result so that there can be a "repeat of a progressive government" (one of the left consisting of PSOE, Més and Podemos). Recognising that Més has been affected by issues such as the resignation of former vice-president and tourism minister Biel Barceló, she argued that there is not time to "build new leadership". Més should therefore be represented by its three most prominent leaders at the elections in May next year: Antoni Noguera to run again as mayor of Palma; Ensenyat for the Council of Majorca; and herself for the presidency.
Santiago added that she has the backing of many Més members, ones from the Iniciativa wing as well as from the PSM. She denied that Més is divided into two factions: "That debate doesn't exist."
Talking about Bel Busquets (PSM), who was made vice-president rather than herself following Barceló's resignation, she explained that she would have liked to have been handed the post. However, the decision was taken to appoint Busquets because Més wanted the positions of vice-president and tourism minister to be combined, as they were with Barceló.
Referring to the fact that Ensenyat had said several months ago that he thought she would be the best candidate for the presidency, Santiago said that she didn't know what has changed since then. She stressed her willingness for dialogue with Ensenyat but avoided answering if she would accept being the number two on the election list behind Ensenyat.
She noted that she and Ensenyat have "different ways of leading" and emphasised her experience and capacity for consensus. She defined herself as someone in favour of sovereignty rather than independence, adding that the Balearic Islands need a "new relationship with Spain".
* Fina Santiago has more ministerial experience than anyone else in Més. She held the post of minister for social affairs during the 2007-2011 PSOE coalition government as well, having been the director of the Balearic social affairs institute from 1999 to 2003. Biel Barceló was not a minister in the 2007-2011 government, even though he did head the list of candidates for the presidency with what was then the Bloc per Mallorca.
Santiago's experience has, however, been confined to one area of government, and one where comparatively little can go wrong, especially if it is funded well. It is not as onerous a ministry as, say, health, environment or tourism.
Miquel Ensenyat, although he has never been a minister, was mayor of Esporles from 2005 to 2015 and has been the president of the Council of Majorca since 2015. It might be argued, therefore, that he has greater leadership qualifications and knowledge of dealing with the complexities of government.