Ruth Mateu (Més), the transparency minister, taking charge of the debate on the anti-corruption office.

29-11-2016Jaume Morey

The Balearic parliament has approved the creation of the office for the prevention of and fight against corruption, a body that will investigate allegations of irregular activity in local authorities.

The government and Podemos gave full support to the motion, while the opposition gave only partial support, given concerns about the system of sanctions that is being contemplated and the way in which the director of the anti-corruption office is to be appointed.

Ruth Mateu, the minister for transparency, said that the office will be independent, though parliament will administer it. Corruption, she noted, has to be fought on different fronts and with different means, and she added that all the political parties should work on restoring the public's faith. Investigation by the office, she explained, will conclude when and if matters are passed to the courts.

The Partido Popular's Juan Manuel Lafuente argued that partisan interests on behalf of the government parties had meant that an opportunity to create a truly independent office had been lost. He criticised the fact that the sanctioning regime had not been referred to the Consultative Council (the legal body which reviews government legislation). He was also critical of there being a parliamentary majority to select a director.

Vicenç Thomàs of PSOE said that the office complements judicial bodies which have been shown to have "limitations", as demonstrated by the number of corruption cases in the Balearics over the past ten years. Aitor Morrás of Podemos referred to a long list of cases related to the PP and to the "capitalism of buddies" that has characterised the Balearics.

The El Pi and Ciudadanos spokespeople, Josep Melià and Xavier Pericay, both voiced their worries about the choice of director. Melià suggested that there was an "obvious risk" of being partisan, while Pericay observed that "there is nothing worse for society than corruption" in being sceptical about the parliamentary process of selection.

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