Maria Salom (left) and Biel Company (second right) hold different views over Catalan.

31-10-2017MDB

Sencelles town hall is one that is leading the way in rejecting the state attorney's legal challenge to grants awarded for signs, menus and other items to be in Catalan. Pollensa and Capdepera town halls are affected by the attorney's intervention.

The approval of a motion at Friday's council meeting exposed the opposition that there is within the Partido Popular in the Balearics to the attorney's action. This opposition is also therefore directed at the PP's Maria Salom, the national government delegate in the Balearics, who has strongly defended the stance taken by Madrid.

The town hall in Sencelles is run by a coalition of El Pi and PSOE. The PP are in opposition, as is a councillor with Més. The motion was presented by this councillor and one from El Pi. The PP supported it, and the call was for there to be an end to any judicial process in respect of the grants and for support to be given to this form of funding.

The PP's spokesperson at the town hall, Catalina Salom, who is no relation to Maria Salom, had no doubt that supporting the motion was correct. "I don't have a phobia about our language. How is it possible not to defend it? We have the responsibility to vote as we think is best for Sencelles, and we are in favour of all the aid that can be given to businesses, be it a question of language or not."

The Sencelles motion followed a similar one at the Algaida council meeting on Thursday. The PP spokesperson Rafel Oliver backed a motion presented by Més in favour of the grants. He said that he believes most PP municipal groups will feel the same.

The president of the PP in Majorca, Jeroni Salom, the uncle of Catalina Salom, says that there is nothing to suggest that Biel Company, the PP leader, has told councillors to back motions by Més. But he considers it "logical" that there would be support, especially if El Pi present motions. He is in favour of PP groups voting for what they believe to be best for their respective municipalities.

* Company called a meeting of the PP leadership group in the Balearics last Wednesday to discuss the row. Nothing definite emerged from this, but the intervention of Madrid in the form of the state attorney and Maria Salom has caused consternation within PP circles in the Balearics. When he became leader of the PP, Company firmly distanced himself from the policies and attitude of ex-Balearic president José Ramón Bauzá, of whom a general perception was that he was anti-Catalan. This was a contributory factor to what was a disastrous election for the PP in 2015.

Castellano and Catalan are co-official languages of the Balearics, but this language mix is complicated by the island dialects (languages, if one prefers), such as Mallorquín. Some on the right, and Bauzá is one of them, align themselves with the dialects and not Catalan. It should also be said that a great number of islanders do the same.

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