Portugal goes to the polls Sunday

Sunday’s municipal elections see the moment many expats will have been waiting for. One of the few occasions when they can exercise their right to vote and (possibly) help change things for the better.

Portugal’s municipal elections this year have been the stage for all kinds of political posturing.

The ‘big guns’ from parties in power and the ‘opposition’ have been firing broadsides at every opportunity, the language predictably archaic.

There are no clear insults in Portuguese politics. Unlike the slights bandied about in UK on these occasions, here politicians cite failings like “lack of sense of State” – this one coming on Monday from former prime minister Passos Coelho and aimed at his ‘usurper’ António Costa.

Says national media, these elections will be the test of Passos Coelho’s leadership.

They may well be the test of constitutional dictionaries as well.

But on a wider plane, this has been a ‘significant campaign’, a test of the so-called ‘geringonça’ (literal translation ‘contraption’) that has led Portugal out of the financial doldrums and into unequivocal economic growth.

Passos Coelho has repeatedly said that he will not be standing down – “no matter what the result at the elections” – and, according to Lusa, the ‘other right-wing party’ dislodged from power in 2015’s game-changing elections, the CDS, has still “failed to quantify the national objectives” of her party.

Thus, the writing is on the wall. Left wingers Bloco de Esquerda are supremely confident and seeking to “redefine the municipal map”.

Meantime, no less than 27,000 expats have their voting papers ready for Sunday – their nationalities ranging, says Sábado, from New Zealanders to Uruguayans.

Almost half the tally hails from the 28-member states of the European Union, while the remainder includes nationals from Cape Verde, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Iceland, Norway, Peru and Venezuela.

Among those keen to make their mark beyond the requisite “Xs” on the ballot paper are one (male) Briton, a German farmer, two women (Dutch and Irish) and a young French-German surfer – all of them in the Algarve.

Público presents Monchique environmentalist Stephen Hugman, 64, as an experienced hand at the tiller. He has sat on the local council for the PSD for the last eight years.

In neighbouring Aljezur, Johannes Schydlo, 65, has been representing the PS since 2001.

This year the duo are joined by Dutch resident Monique Volkers and Irish Anne Dineen, both candidates for parishes in Monchique – one for the PSD, the other for the PS – while young surfer Fabrice Walther is standing for vice-president of the parish of Bordeira in Aljezur (PS)

With more and more foreign residents getting involved in local issues, like the rights and wrongs of gas and oil exploration, the saving of protected wetlands and areas of outstanding natural beauty, the time when councils were the bastion of Portuguese nationals is quietly changing.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]

Local elections in Algarve – continuity or new blood?

How much will change in terms of the Algarve’s political landscape is one of the major questions that will be answered in this Sunday’s local elections.

The crushing majority of the region’s acting mayors (15 out of 16) are running again for office and chances are many will be re-elected.

Candidates for the mayoral position have nonetheless been campaigning for weeks, trying to get people to get out and vote on Sunday.

Abstention is once again a major concern considering that over half of eligible voters in the Algarve (52.43%) stayed home during the 2013 local elections.

Portugal’s socialist party (PS) was the big winner of the last elections, securing the most votes out of any party both nationally (36.26%) and on a regional level (36.71%).

Who is running for office?

A total of 75 people are running for the mayoral role in the Algarve, including 15 of the 16 acting mayors. Only Vila Real de Santo António’s Luís Gomes has decided to leave politics behind to pursue a career in music.

The Resident has compiled a list of the Mayoral Candidates that will be on the ballot this Sunday:
■ Vila do Bispo: Adelino Soares (PS); Afonso Nascimento (PSD, CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Paula Vilallonga (CDU); Sebastião Pernes (BE); Fernando Cortes (Independent)
■ Aljezur: José Amarelinho (PS); Hélder Cabrita (PSD, CDS-PP, MPT); Rogério Furtado (CDU)
■ Lagos: Joaquina Matos (PS); Nuno Serafim (PSD, CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Ana Paula Viana (CDU); Manuela Goes (BE); Margarida Maurício (PAN); Luís Barroso (Ind.)
■ Portimão: Isilda Gomes (PS); José Pedro Caçorino (CDS-PP, PSD, MPT, PPM); Isidro Vieira (CDU); João Vasconcelos (BE); Mário Cintra (Nós Cidadãos)
■ Monchique: Rui André (PSD); Paulo Alves (PS); Ana Veiga (CDU); Francisco Freitas (Unidos Por Monchique); João Duarte (Ind.)
■ Lagoa: Francisco Martins (PS); José Inácio (PSD); António Flamino (CDU); Ondina Santos (CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Jorge Ramos (BE)
■ Silves: Rosa Palma (CDU); Fátima Matos (PS); Paula Sousa (CDS-PP, PPM); Rogério Pinto (PSD); Rui Barradas (BE)
■ Albufeira: Carlos Silva e Sousa (PSD); Ricardo Clemente (PS); Manuela Jorge (CDU), Sandra Costa (BE); Jorge Loureiro (CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Isabel Machadinha (PAN)
■ Loulé: Vítor Aleixo (PS); José Graça (PSD, CDS-PP, MPT), António Martins (CDU); Joaquim Sarmento (BE)
■ Faro: Rogério Bacalhau (PSD); António Eusébio (PS); António Mendonça (CDU); Eugénia Taveira (BE); Paulo Baptista (PAN); Humberto Correia (Ind.)
■ São Brás de Alportel: Vítor Guerreiro (PS); Bruno Sousa Costa (PS, CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Francisco Keil do Amaral (CDU)
■ Olhão: António Pina (PS); Luciano Jesus (PSD, CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Sebastião Coelho (CDU); Ivo Madeira (BE); Rui Santos (Ind.)
■ Tavira: Jorge Botelho (PS); Elsa Cordeiro (PSD); Miguel Cunha (CDU); José Manuel do Carmo (BE); João Carvalho (CDS-PP); Carlos Nunes (Nós Cidadãos)
■ Vila Real de Santo António: Conceição Cabrita (PSD); António Murta (PS); Álvaro Leal (CDU); Celeste Santos (BE)
■ Castro Marim: Francisco Amaral (PSD, CDS-PP); Célia Brito (PS); Marco Rosa (CDU); José Estevens (Ind.)
■ Alcoutim: Osvaldo Gonçalves (PS); Jorge Inácio (PSD, CDS-PP, MPT, PPM); Mário Nunes (CDU)

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]