The former Balearic Minister for Tourism, José María González Ortea, is to pick up the gauntlet as leader of the opposition Partido Popular in the Balearics. At a meeting of the PP parliamentary group yesterday in Palma, which was presided over by the former leader and new Spanish Minister for the Environment, Jaume Matas, it was agreed that Ortea, who served as a member of Matas's government which was defeated at the last election, will take over as leader and another former Minister for Tourism, Joan Flaquer, come in as Ortea's number two. The proposed replacements were drawn up by Matas and the proposal approved unanimously. However for the moment the “slight” change in the organisation of the PP will not take place immediately, Matas, who will remain as chairman of the party in the Balearics, did not set a date yesterday and in the meanwhile will continue leading the Balearic executive of the party. But Matas did say that the changes will be introduced “soon” but “nothing will change.” Matas bid his goodbyes to local politicians and colleagues in Palma yesterday before heading back to Madrid, his new office and new team. Matas was giving little away about who will help make up his new squad at the Environment Ministry in Madrid, but hinted at a few appointments being made in the Balearics, saying that there are some “worthy people.” While his immediate order of priorities has yet to be drawn up, topping the list whatever develops is the national water plan which Matas says he wants to start work on as soon as possible.

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