Sunday, June 15, 2014

"Compatibility" Bauzá

The result was 3-2. It wasn't a World Cup match but the score on the board by the judges in the Bauzá Pharmacy Challenge. The compatibles squeezed home against the incompatibles, thus meaning that the president avoided a possible penalty shoot-out of incompatibility. The compatibles won the day, but were they the old contemptibles? Leaders of opposition parties found the decision difficult to understand. Why had the criteria changed?

The Pharmacy Challenge was the one brought by PSOE and Més to the Balearics High Court. It had to decide if Bauzá should be deemed fit to be "Capability" Bauzá, capable of remaining as president by being "Compatibility" Bauzá. Was he incapable and thus incompatible because of his pharmacy business interests? This was the question and the challenge laid down by the opposition.

Majority victory secured, the opposition's difficulty in understanding stemmed from the fact that a one-time PSOE health minister had been considered incompatible by the same court on much the same grounds, i.e. that she still had a pharmacy business once she became minister. There is, one supposes, one fairly obvious difference between the two cases - Bauzá isn't the health minister - but the opposition were none too impressed with m'luds' verdict. They are minded to appeal and so drag the whole affair on and on.

Without going into the tedious minutiae of the Bauzá case and of that which involved Aina Salom, the socialist ex-health minister, there does seem to be a bit of discrepancy between the two decisions, but the case against Salom, which had been brought by the PP when it was in opposition, did seem stronger. If only for appearances' sake, was it right for a pharmacy owner to be health minister? Pharmacies do, after all, rather rely on the regional government and the regional health ministry.

It is reasonable for opposition parties to seek to ensure compatibility, but short of finding evidence that Bauzá's pharmacy was gaining unfairly or had unusual contracts with the government, what really was the problem? The case against him has always had a slight hint of desperation about it; desperation to find anything with which to finger him. The most suspicious aspect of the affair was that Bauzá failed to register his business interests. It was an error, apparently. Or so said the then government spokesperson, Rafael Bosch. If it was an error, it was a fairly major one, but the judges were not asked to consider this error, only the issue of compatibility.

No sooner had the judges decided, than Bauzá was on the offensive, attacking the opposition for having spent much of the current legislature attempting to slur him and telling them that they would have better spent their time doing some work. He has a point. Moreover, if the opposition does indeed insist on appealing the decision, might it backfire on them? Would it appear to at least some of the electorate like vindictiveness? They would do well to drop the matter and do as Bauzá has advised.

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