Francina Armengol

In a world where political gaff piles on an ever increasing mound of political gaffs, it will take some beating to equal this whopper of an exercise in bad form by Balearic President Francina Armengol.

According to the actions of Mallorcan police and as reported in the Diario de Ibiza, the president was drinking in a Mallorca bar on Wednesday 7th Octobre, and in doing so was breaking every rule in the book, rules that she and her Balearic government have set for we citizens to follow.

Only this week Armengol called for Citizens to make sacrifices, deriding those who do not follow the rules.

According to the allegations president Armengol went out for after-hours drinks on Wednesday, October 7, thereby breaching the strict hours curfews imposed by the Government that restrict bars from opening after 1am, or people entering bars after midnight. Even stricter controls are in place in local lockdown areas where bars must be closed by 10pm.

However, two weeks after the alleged incident, Armengol addressed the Balearic parliament demanding “sacrifices” by the citizens, slamming “all those who are not following instructions”, stating that they are “putting us all in danger”. This was during a speech when she announced new restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus (the number of people who can be in a group is reduced from 10 to 6, the president said).

At the beginning of the month, Armengol was recognized by local police officers at around two in the morning outside the Hat bar in the centre of Palma. The police attended the bar following noise complaints from neighbours who said the bar was not observing the night time curfew.

PP Leader Reveals Allegations

The episode was revealed yesterday by the leader of the PP, Biel Company, in the course of the general policy debate in the Parliament. According to the Diario, the PP leader did not explicitly mention Armengol in the account of the events, but it was perfectly clear to the members gathered who he was referring to when he said “What cannot happen is that a well-known politician was at two in the morning with her communication chief in a bar that should be closed and that the Local Police had to close after complaints from neighbours”.

Police in Attendance

It was upon arrival that the agents recognized Armengol in the street, at the doors of the premises, along with other members of his cabinet. The socialist was not identified, nor were the clients they found inside and who were evicted before sealing the establishment. In such cases, only action is taken against the property of the establishment, which is the one that violates the hourly limits; the clientele is allowed to leave as a matter of course.

Photo: The Hat bar, next to the Sant Felip Neri church in the center of Palma, where Armengol was at dawn on the 7th. MANU MIELNIEZUK

When the agents notified the owner that they were sealing the premises and that they were drawing up a sanction against him, the owner responded, in the presence of the president, that he “did not dare to close the bar with the president of the Government inside”

It is not known if these allegations are part of the police report.

Double Standards

This episode contrasts not only with the message of Health, whose councillor, Patricia Gómez, has been asking to avoid social life since mid-August, but also with the speech that Armengol delivered on Tuesday in the Parliament. “We know that social contacts are at the origin of many infections and these are what we have to continue avoiding,” defended the president of the Government when announcing the limitation of social and family gatherings to six people in Mallorca and Ibiza to continue lowering the coronavirus curve.

“We have to understand that we have to protect ourselves from the virus, that we have to avoid unnecessary mobility, mass events, closed spaces and meetings with people who are not from our circle of coexistence,” the president appealed.

Government Silent

The Government refused to answer questions raised by the press, giving a brief response of “lies will not be assessed.”

The allegations dominated political circles yesterday. PP deputy Sebastià Sagreras also reproduced the story on networks: “A ruler cannot reduce meetings to six people” – a measure announced by Armengol – “and at the same time being in a bar that the police must close at two in the morning, for complaints from neighbours.