The Parliament of the Balearic Islands is where lies the sovereignty of the residents in the Balearic Islands, with power to legislate, approve annual budgets and choose the president of this region. This is all done within this building, the Círculo Mallorquín (previous Casino Balear), designed by Antonio Sureda i Villalonga, stuck between two streets of central Palma: Carrer Conquistador and Carrer Palau Reial. The preceding institution to this one was the Gran i General Consell, part of the Kingdom of Mallorca.
As per the Spanish Law, the Parliament in the Balearic Islands must be represented by 59 members, chosen as per the following breakdown based on each island’s population:
Mallorca: 33 seats
Menorca: 13 seats
Ibiza: 12 seats
Formentera: 1 seat
The building itself is of a beautiful Modernist style and dates back to 1882, when works started on the initial structure. This was made to be home of the bourgeois Círculo Mallorquín, which used to be a middle-class social club for the bourgeoisie founded in 1851. It was a cultural place, to get together, attend speeches, play pool, practice fencing or enjoy literature and music. It was such an important venue that it was even visited by two Spanish royals (the Monarchy used to never visit the islands, unlike nowadays, when it is their preferred holiday destination): the Queen Elizabeth II of Spain in 1860 and the King Alfonso XIII in 1904. No other royal had visited the island since Emperor Charles I of Spain did it in 1541. The main saloon was decorated by Ricardo Anckermann and when the monarchs visited Mallorca, it was decorated so much that the Círculo Mallorquín got into big debt. It later suffered a big reform in 1913 which brought us the building we know today.
At the end of the XX century this building was ceded to the region in order to host the Parliament of the Balearic Islands, effective from August 1983. We will learn more about this important icon for Mallorca and the Balearic Islands in future posts to come…