Balearic Islands: Political System
The Balearic Islands are an autonomous community (Spanish “Comunidad Autónoma”). This means that they are considered to be a regional authority which has been given an autonomous status with its own legislative and other competences by the Spanish constitution (Article 2, version of 1978). This is also not unusual in Spain, because the whole country (apart from a few small islands off Morocco) is divided into autonomous regions and cities. Basically, the Balearic Islands are rather semi-autonomous. They have a common parliament (legislative power), a common government (govern) and a presidentwho presides over the autonomous community. The administrative tasks are taken over by the respective island councils (consells insulars). In general, all five inhabited islands have their own island council. On the lower administrative level are the 67 municipalities with their administrative seat (municipis). Each of them also has a municipal council.
The parliament is elected for four years in secret proportional representation. The President of Parliament presides over it. It can be dissolved, but only if it is not able to elect a President of the Balearic Islands with a minimum of 15% of the votes. This very President de les Illes Balears is elected by all members of parliament and then appointed by the Spanish King, which is stipulated in Article 30, Paragraph 1 of the Spanish Constitution. The main tasks of the President are to appoint and dismiss members of the government, to coordinate and direct government policy and to represent the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands to the outside world. Currently practicing (since May 2007)Francesc Antich i Oliver assumed the office of President. He belongs to the Partit dels Socialistes de les Illes Balears-PSOE (PSIB-PSOE) party.
As for the government, the Govern de les Illes Baleares trains the executive power. This govern consists of the president, the vice-president and the councilors or minister consellers. The parliamentary law regulates the work processes of the government.
Another important political organ of the islands are the Consells Insulars, i.e. the island councils of the inhabited islands. You have to protect the sovereignty of the respective islands and to represent their interests. These councils are appointed by the respective parliamentarians of the Balearic Islands.
The most important parties in the Balearic Parliament are the conservative and Christian-democratic Partit Popular (PP) and the Partit Socialista Espanyol (PSOE), a people’s party with a social-democratic profile.
The official name of the Balearic Islands is:
|Las Islas Baleares (span.)
Les Illes Balears (catal.)
On the occasion of March 1st, 2008, the 25th birthday of the Balearic Statute of Autonomy, Francesc Antich Oliver, the President of the Balearic Islands, commissioned a special anthem for the archipelago. Antich thus has both an identity-creating function and an advertising niche in mind. It was the internationally known musician Joan Valent from Mallorca who composed the melody of the hymn in Formentera and was influenced by the rhythm of the waves and the folklore of all the islands.
National flag (s) of the Balearic Islands
In addition to their own flags, the Balearic Islands also have a common flag that is different from the Spanish one.
Balearic Islands: history
The Balearic Islands have been populated since the 4th millennium BC. This has been shown by research that has examined in detail traces of human civilization on the islands. It is assumed that the Balearic indigenous population most likely immigrated from what is now southern France or from the Iberian Peninsula.
The Balearic Islands in ancient times
The islands were called Balearides or Gymnesiae in antiquity, under this name the islands of Mallorca were understood as “Balearis Major” and Menorca as “Balearis Minor”. At first they were ruled by the Phoenicians, on whom they were also economically dependent. The residents of the islands were called Balearici. These were not infrequent (especially for the Carthaginians and the Romans) to be found on the armed forces of antiquity, as they were known for their skill in throwing large stones. But since the Balearici were also active in piracy, they aroused the wrath of the Romans and were defeated in 123 BC. Chr from the proconsulQuintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus captured. In the following period, Romanized southern Spaniards settled in the Balearic Islands and cities such as Palma and Polentia were founded.
Middle Ages – 425 to 1469
The islands were taken over by the Vandals in 425, led by their King Gunderich. Around the year 560, however, they were conquered by the Eastern Roman Empire, from which they then fell to the Republic of Pisa and in 798 to the Moors. Soon they were an integral part of the famous Caliphate of Cordoba. James I of Aragón succeeded in the course of the Reconquista, between 1229 and 1235 Mallorca and Ibiza, while Alfons III.Menorca could take possession of it. The Balearic Islands were thus an integral part of the Aragonese crown and for a certain time even formed an independent state with parts of Catalonia, which was ruled by a branch line of the House of Aragon. At this point we are talking about the Kingdom of Mallorca. Peter IV of Aragón was able to win the Balearic Islands for himself in 1344 and unite them with his dynastic ancestral lands. When the Catholic kings Ferdinand II and Isabella I succeeded in the dynastic union of Aragon and Castile after their marriage in 1469, the Balearic Islands had become part of the Spanish monarchy.
Modern – 1708 to March 1, 1983
In 1708 Maó, the capital of the island of Menorca, was conquered by the British, with Menorca becoming part of the British Empire in the course of the Peace of Utrecht in 1713, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. But already in the Treaty of Versailles (1783) the British had to give the island back to Spain, although it was still under British occupation until 1802.
In 1833 the Spanish province of the Balearic Islands was founded. After a regional independence movement had sprouted on the islands at the end of the 19th century, but was unable to consolidate further, it was proposed in 1931 that the islands be given autonomous status. However, this proposal was only implemented in 1983 after the end of the Franco dictatorship. It was March 1st 1983 when the Statute of Autonomy for the Balearic Islands came into force. This important day is still celebrated today as the Día de las Islas Baleares (Spanish) or the Dia de les Illes Balears (Catalan).