Luís Montenegro has some tough choices ahead of him this week. Image: manuel de Almeida/ Lusa
Luís Montenegro has some tough choices ahead of him this week. Image: manuel de Almeida/ Lusa

PSD Algarve in shock over party’s choice for region’s ‘top’ political candidate

“An Algarvian in 2nd place, a baby from Cascais at number 1”

With more and more polls and pundits suggest the PSD has been shooting itself in the foot, the party now has to contend with a major ‘mutiny’ less than two months before legislative elections.

The leaders of the 16 PSD offices in the Algarve (one for each borough) are askance at the choice of a non-Algarvian as the region’s number one candidate.

They say it is absolutely unacceptable, given that the regional party’s president Cristóvão Norte is, and has been for years, the ‘logical candidate’.

Right now, the party’s choice is Miguel Pinto Luz – the current deputy mayor of Cascais. But a letter from the 16 Algarve offices is on its way to party leader Luís Montenegro insisting that this is reconsidered.

According to reports, part of the party’s ‘justification’ for choosing Pinto Luz is that his paternal grandfather was from the Algarve. This has cut no ice at all with the 16 PSD ‘concelhias’ which cite the importance of an effective and committed representation of the region, which they believe cannot happen with the choice of Miguel Pinto Luz. Indeed, some PSD ‘militants’ have said they would prefer to leave the party than be represented by a “baby from Cascais”.

Comments on the social media page of Cristóvão Norte show the strength of feeling at play: Algarvian PSD supporters are seething. Says one commentator: “you may be second on the list, but you are the first in the permanent defence of your region. This country needs more people like you!”

Observador comments that Norte was a supporter of former PSD leader Rui Rio in the first internal elections (in which Rio was standing against Luís Montenegro, and won). This may thus be a case of ‘sour grapes’ – but it clearly isn’t being taken lying down.

The letter sent to Luís Montenegro shows that the region’s militants want Cristóvão Norte in the top slot as PSD’s main candidate for the Algarve “by virtue of his capacity and exemplary work for the region over more than two decades”.

If Montenegro does not reconsider, this will stand as yet another wrinkle in the uneven tapestry of PSD’s election preparations. Already the AD alliance forged by the PSD with the CDS (a party that lost all its seats in government at the last elections) and the ‘popular monarchist party’ (PPM – a party that hasn’t had seats in parliament for as long as most people can remember) has generated mixed feelings, and is not showing positive swings in the polls.

On Sunday, political commentator Luís Marques Mendes – himself a former PSD leader – said Montenegro has to make some real changes to his strategy, and, in his opinion, he needs to make them by “next Sunday”, when the AD alliance holds its pre-election convention.

The PSD “needs to surprise people with alternative thinking and alternative proposals” it needs “a transformative project. And there isn’t much time to present it,” warned the commentator.

It follows that there also isn’t much time to change the decision about who will be No 1 on the Algarve’s list, either.

Cristóvão Norte, for his part, has posted a photograph of himself looking less than overjoyed on his Facebook page, but stressing that his “commitment” to his region and his country “remains unwavering.

“I will do everything to show that it is possible to build a better alternative for the lives of all of us.

Thank you to so many who have shown me their support”, he writes.

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