Decentralisation: Algarve could become administrative region by 2021
In a bid to transfer power away from central to local government, Portugal’s Independent Commission for Decentralisation delivered a report to parliament last week suggesting the creation of five administrative regions: Algarve, North, Centre, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, and Alentejo.
The commission believes that this new administrative model could be implemented in 2021 when the local elections will be held.
In its report, the commission says that the “centralism of political decisions in Portugal has increased significantly in recent years”, which has led to the “weakening of the central administration entities that exist in each region”.
It adds that it has also led to a “dangerous feeling” among populations which feel “abandoned, forgotten and a long distance away from those making political decisions”. Thus giving regions more power to make decisions is seen as “the only way” to tackle these issues.
The report suggests that each administrative region should have its own regional parliament, with representatives voted by local populations.
João Cravinho, former minister for industry and technology and head of the commission, says that the report will be a “valuable” tool but may not be “consensual”.
“We worked from a standpoint that the situation is so diverse and complex that this report should be viewed not as the piece that will solve the problem, but as a contribution,” Cravinho told Lusa news agency.
The idea is to move forward with a referendum to establish whether the Portuguese people agree with the creation of these new regional administrative bodies.
The 300-page report, which was created after hearing hundreds of people from all over Portugal and analysing the works of Portuguese specialists, also suggests the transfer of funds from the national state budget to the new administrative regions and the creation of a “public bank of regional development”.
Internal Administration Minister Eduardo Cabrita has praised the work of the commission, especially due to the tight deadline it was given to hand in the report, but explained that how it will be acted upon depends on which government will be elected in October.
Meantime, PS Algarve has also hailed the report, saying it aims to make this plan one of the goals of “the next Socialist Party government”.
In fact, it says that this will be the “next step” following a series of “decentralisation” measures implemented by Prime Minister António Costa throughout the last four years.