IRAQ AND PRESTIGE NOT LOCAL ELECTION ISSUES FOR PP

ALL bets on who is going to be the centre right Partido Popular's candidate for president of the Balearics are pretty much off. The PP secretary general, Javier Arenas, said yesterday that he will announce the PP's Balearic candidate “soon,” adding that with “all probability” the candidate will be former Balearic president and Environment Minister Jaume Matas. Arenas would not give a date, although this week the PP's national executive meets to officially unveil the party's candidate for the May 25 local elections. However, Arenas did unveil the PP's local election campaign slogan, “Less taxes, more security,” with the election manifesto to be unveiled tomorrow. Arenas said that the PP does not expect the Iraq crisis to be a local election issue, how the electorate votes next month will directly affect their lives for the next four years. Those considering a protest vote best wait until the general elections and Jaume Matas said that he does not consider the Prestige oil catastrophe as an election issue in the Balearics either. Matas, as Environment Minister, is still in the firing line for the oil spill 100 days ago which is still causing damage to the northern coast of Spain, but he does not believe the Prestige issue should influence how the electorate votes in the Balearics. Matas rounded on the opposition PSOE socialist party for continuing to use the Prestige to win votes.

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