Unbalanced Media Coverage Generates Complaint ; Jardim Controls Police

I realise I couldn’t escape politics for another day, so I am afraid it is back, but although this is the last ‘legal’ day of the national campaign, there is still a long way do go. All the main political parties are concentrating their final efforts in Funchal today, which I think is a great idea from a Ribeira Brava perspective, although to be fair, I don’t think we have had hardly any campaigning visits here. I have been checking the party schedules every day, just so I could go to one event for the experience, but so far no joy.

(25th September). ‘PSD-M Makes A Complaint To The CNE Against RDP And RTP – The social democrats complain that the news coverage is unbalanced compared to the PS’. The party will complain to the Nacional Election Commission, against the Madeira director of the media stations because different criteria were used in the coverage of campaign initiatives on Porto Santo. "Those two stations, under the control of Lisbon, didn’t appear at the events of the social democrat candidates on Porto Santo", said a statement. But "to the contrary, they have collaborated with the socialist candidates", that held their campaign events last weekend on the Golden Island, it continued. The stations excused themselves from commenting on the situation.

On the TV news today, a poll carried out into voter intentions, commissioned by RTP, has shown the PSD social democrats slipping away in popularity in the race for seats in the Assembly of the Republic. PS socialists now have 38% of the vote, PSD 30%, BE Left Block 11%, CDS & CDU 7-8%, others 2%. That’s probably the last poll we will see before we find out the actual election results. A few locals were having a good ole chat about this last night, and the conclusion was that the big parties are all liars and don’t deserve anyone’s vote. I was asked who I was voting for, but when I explained that I wasn’t entitled to vote, people were quite surprised, but wanted to know anyway who I would vote for. BE I said, more through lack of a serious opinion. Why? Because it has the catchiest campaign theme tune, I explained. This went down very well as a legitimate selection criteria, and I think that the BE now has its own little corner in Rib. Bra.     

(24th September). The last of yesterday’s headlines : ‘Complaint Of CDU Against CMF Dismissed’. The Public Prosecutor’s office (MP) together with the Administrative Court of the Circle of Funchal (TACF) dismissed a complaint by the CDU communists about  development plans for Amparo. The complaint was made last December against Funchal Council, when the CDU asked for an assessment on whether or not the administrative practices of the council were legal or not, particularly in relation to Pico da Cruz, which is defined as a green zone. CMF were believed to be accepting the plans of some residents contemplating construction work in that area.

‘The PSP ‘enter’ the campaign, dragged in by Jardim – PSP guarantees that it acted in a neutral form in Curral and in Canhas and avoids commenting’. First, it was the opening of the cycle path in Funchal, on Sunday, when the President of the Government (in that capacity) that spoke out against the [lack of] action of the Police Force (PSP), which he said was only interested in handing out traffic fines. Then the New Democracy Party, out on the campaign trail in the Nun’s valley, was targeted by the police, allegedly on Jardim’s instructions. Then, the cases got more complicated. On Tuesday in Canhas, a new controversy arose when Jardim was ‘doing the rounds’, shaking hands and greeting everyone, when a socialist party candidate just happened to be next in line for Dr. [Jekyll] Jardim’s attention. The PS-M parish elections candidate, Manuel Relva, decided to keep his hands in his pockets, catching Jardim by surprise. According to Manuel, Mr. [Hyde] Jardim then called over a policeman that was part of his security team, and told him to identify the ‘impolite’ citizen that refused to shake hands with him. For the socialists, this was a clear abuse of authority. Meanwhile the PSP is accused of letting Jardim make the rules. A senior police spokesman said that the intervention was "requested by the President of the Regional Government, as this was a matter of inappropriate behaviour, including offences and insults". More tales followed, but must move on.

Whilst many are still deciding what to vote on Sunday, or even what to do instead, the first votes have already been cast by prisoners and hospital patients, and also military personnel. Madeiran emigrants will also be receiving their voting forms by post, except in Venezuela it seems, where the mail company considers them low priority, and it looks like many there will miss their voting deadline.

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