Tourism minister and government vice-president Biel Barceló yesterday accepted the resignation of the director of the Balearic Tourism Agency (ATB), Pere Muñoz.
Last week, Muñoz was cited by the anti-corruption prosecution service, which is investigating alleged irregularities with contracts awarded by ministries run by Més to the party's former campaign manager, Jaume Garau.
When it became known that Muñoz was one of five people who could face criminal charges arising from the contracts affair, he left it up to the government to decide his immediate fate. Barceló initially said that he would be staying on, but he told the Balearic parliament yesterday that, following talks and a period of reflection, he had accepted the director's resignation.
Barceló came under attack from the Partido Popular's Antonio Gómez, who insisted that he (Barceló) should himself resign. Gómez reminded the minister that Garau was his friend. It was a "scandal" that he had not yet resigned. The PP's parliamentary spokesperson, Marga Prohens, said that President Armengol should dismiss Barceló if he did not resign. The person mainly responsible for the "supposed plot", she claimed, was Barceló. Prohens also called for an audit of contracts given by Més-controlled ministries to Garau, while Podemos demanded that there should be an audit of the Barceló ministry.
In a letter giving his reasons for resigning, Muñoz explained that he didn't wish to put pressure on his family or on the tourism ministry and that he was going out of "political responsibility" and for "ethical reasons".
The resignation will be confirmed at the next meeting of the ATB board. This is scheduled to take place at the World Travel Market in London early next month. Barceló, already facing a difficult time in London, will now have a further issue to contend with. It is thought that the most likely replacement for Muñoz will be Toni Sansó, the current advisor to the tourism ministry who was key to the drafting and approval of the holiday rentals' legislation.
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