Standing ovations as Algarve’s anti-oil mayor vows to “keep on fighting”

Aljezur mayor José Amarelinho received standing ovations this evening as he vowed to “keep on fighting” for his rural borough despite the fact that he faces a court battle to remain in office (click here).

The ins and outs of the long running property case against him seemed the last thing on people’s minds, however.

There was not even a mention of it as the town’s Socialist Party presented its candidates to a packed hall of supporters.

Backing Amarelinho was former mayor, MP and Socialist minister João Soares (son of the late president of the Republic Mário Soares), as well as Lagos mayoress Joaquina Matos – another council leader who has confirmed her opposition to oil and gas concessions in place up and down the country.

But it was Amarelinho’s speech that brought people to their feet time and again as he roared his commitment to the little town that is rapidly asserting itself as a destination for Nature and surf tourism.

The message was loud and clear. Amarelinho has always been a fighter, and he is determined to stay fighting – even harder if necessary – to push for the improvements Aljezur needs.

His party’s adversary, as far as the charismatic mayor is concerned, is abstention – given that the PS won an absolute majority in the last elections of 62.82% – and thus the final exhortation was for “everyone who loves Aljezur” to make the October 1 turnout “the largest vote ever”.

As the crowds filed out to a open-air pig roast among the fire engines, news further down the coast was that Algarve MP Cristóvão Norte, bidding for the post of mayor of Faro in the elections, has had his parliamentary immunity lifted so that he can answer questions in the Galpgate probe (click here) as an ‘arguido’ (official suspect).

Norte has previously insisted he has no case to answer as his invitation came from a friend who worked for Galp, and not the oil company itself.

Nonetheless, he accepts the bill for his jolly ‘may have been paid by Galp’.

Meantime, the Galpgate probe is reported to be looking beyond the Euro 2016 ‘football freebies’ and focusing on whether the company may have been exerting its influence elsewhere.

An investigation into the legality of the law that paved the way for the country’s oil and gas concessions is underway thanks to a request for in-depth scrutiny put to the Attorney General’s office earlier this year by citizens group ASMAA.

ASMAA maintains the 1994 law is unconstitutional as it was voted on by MPs before the insertion of various significant addenda, particularly relating to the Santola concession, 46kms off the coast of Aljezur.

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