Madeira leader joins Portugal’s presidential race

Madeira leader joins Portugal’s presidential race

The outspoken PSD president of Madeira’s regional government who will be stepping down on January 12 after nearly 37 years in power has confirmed that he wants to run in the next presidential elections – “not to win, but to present his ideas to the country”.

The announcement came last night (January 7) during an interview for RTP Informação’s ‘Grande Entrevista’.

Alberto João Jardim explained, however, that he will only be able to run if he garners enough support.

It will not be an easy task, the flamboyant politician said, as only big-time politicians – “candidates of particracy” – “win elections and are able to raise enough money for their campaigns”.

If his attempt fails, he said he may try out life as a Member of Parliament in mainland Portugal.

“It’s something I’ve thought about trying out of curiosity,” he stated, admitting that he has been elected an MP in the past but has never “set foot” in Parliament.

Meantime, national media has reported that António Guterres, seen as a likely presidential candidate for the Socialist Party (PS), will soon be extending his mandate as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Guterres has refused to comment, saying only: “I am free to decide what I want to do with my life.”

Thus (besides Jardim) who will be running for Portugal’s 2016 presidential elections is still somewhat of a guessing game.

Former PSD leader Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and ex-Prime Minister Santana Lopes are also pointed as other candidates for the PSD, while PS’ general secretary António Costa has admitted that the candidate the Socialist Party supports doesn’t necessarily have to wear their party colours.