PS To Elect New Leader ; Regional Finance Law ; Voter Abstention ; Porto Moniz Justice System

(29th September). The last of today’s headlines : ‘Half [of the ?] Regional Commission Asks Congress – The petition was delivered last week. But the leader Gouveia himself had the idea’. The PS-M socialist leader João Carlos Gouveia has pre-empted critics about the poor showing on Madeira in the elections, and 28 members of the Regional Commission of the Socialist Party last week signed a document asking the chairman of this body to urgently schedule a Congress meeting, with elections to choose new party leader. The initiative was not disclosed, as it was not considered appropriate, being in full campaign for the elections. Various other candidates are discussed. Well, the last two election results already proved what a shambles the PS-M are, and with 2 out of 3 seats lost in the Assembly in Portugal on Sunday, is the hope now that this news will improve matters for the local elections on 11th October? Is the logic there that people are more likely to vote for a PS with a unknown future leader than a poor current leader?

‘Madeira will submit the proposed amendment to the Law of Regional Finance – Jardim counts on the new composition of the parliament and coherence of the parties for the adoption of the revision’. President Jardim announced yesterday that the amendments, proposed by the PSD-M social democrats will be submitted to the Assembly of the Republic. Jardim says that the current law has choked Madeira’s state funding. He was of course hoping that his own PSD party would be be in government, as he had already reached agreement on what would happen, but he will now have to bank on a reduced majority government being out-voted.

The local election campaigns officially restarted today. The PSD-M noise car has already passed my house at least 4 times today.

‘Albuquerque Beats Jardim – Albuquerque has an advantage of nearly 4,000 votes compared to the leader of the PSD-M’. Within 15 days the social democrats will get to know who is worth more in Funchal, the PSD-M president of the câmara or the PSD-M president of Madeira. The two will not be competing head to head, but the comparison of results between legislative (national) and local elections is compulsory, and the same has happened in previous regional elections. Miguel Albuquerque’s support for re-election to Funchal council will have more meaning than ever before, as he is the pretender to the throne of Alberto João Jardim, who is rumoured to be bowing out in 2011. In Sunday’s election Jardim achieved 25,511 votes in Funchal, as top-of-the-list for a seat in the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, or 43.7% of the vote, a fairly low achievement, whereas four years ago, Albuquerque managed 29,395, or 50.3% of the Funchal vote. What a useless comparison, with people not only voting for different people, but for different things. What would be more useful and entertaining is to give them both a pistol, and have a crack of dawn winner-takes-all duel, on top of a grassy knoll (a contingency plan, just in case they both miss). Not wishing to be politically incorrect (before the blog snipers come along), it would of course all be in fun using paint ball pistols.

The high level of abstention in Funchal is a bit of a concern in Funchal. One of the reasons is explained in today’s Diário : "As reported, Portugal has a huge number of voters who are unable to vote. Because they are dead, or because they live in a foreign country". The latter case gives us some cause for forgiveness, as ballot papers get lost and delayed when sent abroad, as happened in Venezuela at the weekend, but as for the dead voters, do they really have excuses, if so I would like to hear them. And there was me thinking, that in this terminal stage of life, one automatically qualified for an important position in the PSD-M, so does that in fact mean that our current rulers do still have some blood movement in their veins, or is that just afterlife twitching we see?

‘In the series ‘Through Madeira’ : ‘Porto Moniz : ‘People’s tribunals’ still decide’. Residents discuss life in the towns two cafes. They analyse and pass ‘sentences’. The Portuguese Justice System doesn’t know, but in the region of Porto Moniz, two courts exist (‘Relação’ & ‘Supremo’), curiously both quite near the town hall. It is in these two places that the common life and politics of the town are discussed, and ‘sentences’ given out. They article says that if the president of the câmara kept his office window open he would be able to hear what was being said from his desk. The  power of the ‘Supremo’ is sufficient to change the political scene in the area, and the Diário hints that if the outgoing câmara president might have listened more closely, he would still be around to serve another political mandate next month (another Jardim ‘casualty’). The two courts fall into the categories of regular and supreme, and there is a protocol between the two. Rui Nelson, is one of the youngest ‘judges’ of the ‘Relação : "When we do not agree on a certain subject, we take the matter to the Supremo", he said. The Diário, having hyped up the story, then takes it back to reality, a powerless discussion forum … but is it?

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