The Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of the Balearic government, which can now maintain its moratorium on supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores approved in its law on the budgets for 2002. The moratorium was included in the bill at the proposal of the PP (Popular Party) and approved by all the political parties, but the central goverment appealed to the Constitutional Court to have the bill repealed. The court rejected the arguments presented by the central government's lawyer and criticsed the decision to go to court. Pere Sampol, the deputy leader and minister of commerce, expressed his satisfaction at the ruling. He pointed out that up to now, the constitutional Court has ruled in favour of the Balearic government in all the cases presented by the central government against its laws. Sampol criticised these constant attacks by the government of Prime Minister José Maria Aznar which he accused of operating a “centralist” policy by interfering in areas which came under the jurisdiction of the regions. Sampol defended his department's work on behalf of the commercial framework of the Balerics. He said that the coalition government was applying very advanced policies in defence of commerce in the islands. Josep Juan Cardona, the PP spokesman on commerce, also expressed his satisfaction at the Court's decision and said that his party fully supported the small shopkeepers. Supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores were opposed to the law because it restricts Sunday and holiday openings which have to be negotiated every year. This year, the dates are Maundy Thursday, October 12 and the three Sundays of December prior to Christmas. On the Peninsula, shops are allowed to open on up to nine holidays during the year. By reducing the number of days, Sampol's commerce ministry wants to favour traditional small shops against the pressure of the big shops.

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