Macário Correia thrown out

The Constitutional Court has rejected Macário Correia’s appeal against the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision to determine his loss of mandate for decisions he had taken in 2007 as Mayor of Tavira relating to urban planning, which violated regional and municipal land planning and management guidelines.

As Mayor of Faro, elected by right-wing government party PSD, he was condemned last summer (see Algarve Resident issues of July 6 and July 13, 2012) by the Supreme Administrative Court to lose his current mandate in Faro, but he made an appeal to the Constitutional Court, which has proved unsuccessful.

Between 2005 and 2009, as Tavira Mayor, Macário Correia violated several regional urbanisation documents, including the PROT/Algarve (Land Management Plan) and Tavira’s Municipal Master Plan (PDM) authorising construction in places not permitted by law.

The Supreme Administrative Court judges accused Macário Correia of “contradicting, with intent, the written opinions of municipal officers without any reason or justification” related to the licensing of the Palmeiras Resort in Quinta das Oliveiras, Tavira, which commenced despite the environmental associations Quercus and LPN denouncing the construction of the development of around 800 villas on land designated as a National Agricultural Reserve.

In the Constitutional Court ruling, dated January 10 and written by Catarina Sarmento e Castro, the court explained that it cannot emit a ruling to the appeal because Macário Correia never, at any time, claimed the other ruling to be unconstitutional with the Supreme Administrative Court.

According to the Constitutional Court, “such claims would have to be presented before the court which emitted the ruling being appealed against”; that is to say, the Supreme Administrative Court. As such, the Constitutional Court decided “to confirm the appeal court’s decision and, as a consequence, reject the appeal presented”.

After being contacted by the press, Macário Correia declined to comment on the court’s decision. However, according to Correio da Manhã newspaper, he said he would talk about the case “when the time was right”, revealing that his lawyer was analysing the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

At the time of the original ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court, Macário Correia made a statement of clarification in which he argued the decision was “inconsistent” with the other three courts that previously ruled in his favour, claiming: “I was elected with total dedication to the people whom I swore to serve and I will continue to do so untilproved otherwise.”

In the original court ruling of June 2012, the Supreme Administrative Court said that the politician “acted with a high degree of guilt” and was responsible for “illicit conduct violating the land and urban management regulations”, so determining the loss of the “current mandate” at Faro Câmara.

Macário Correia still has two legal options: asking for a clarification of the ruling or to claim invalidity of the ruling. Otherwise, he will have to leave the mayoral office in 10 days.

Also, according to Correio da Manhã, Algarve PSD leader Luís Gomes has chosen to remain “silent for now”. The PSD/Algarve leader, expected to run for Vila Real de Santo António Mayor in 2013, revealed that a party meeting will take place soon to analyse the subject and devise a strategy for Faro Câmara.