The country is going to vote again on the 30th of January, this time to elect the deputies to the Assembly of the Republic and, with that, help to choose the next Prime Minister and to constitute the new Government. The last time the communiqué came out, far from imagining that the activity of the Government and deputies would be so strongly conditioned by a pandemic that changed our lives and made this fight our main collective priority. The country is not the same as in 2019: the social and economic consequences of the pandemic persystem; the impacts on the health of the elderly and on the education of the youngest will last; and the recovery effort, started in 2020 but still limited by the pandemic situation, will continue.
Two years later, the country is going to vote because on the right and left of the PS a political crisis that sounds like all the others has precipitated – and it is in this general framework that the PS presents a vote with the country’s recovery effort as an absolute priority for which he hopes to have a strengthened majority in Parliament. On the contrary, on the right, at the time of writing, not a single line of the electoral program of the PSD and Rui Rio is known – not even a plan, a project, an idea for the future of the country.
It is within this national framework that Madeirans will elect their representatives. In 2019, in a context strongly marked by the result of the regional changes that took place two weeks earlier, at PS Madeira we were able to maintain the energy, mobilization and dynamic necessary to help strengthen the majority of the PS and obtain our best result ever in applicable legislation compared to the PSD, with a difference of less than 4%, electing, for the second time in our history, three deputies. It was a result that all Socialists are proud of, including myself as Secretary General at the time and director of this campaign. Two years later, as important achievements registered in the Assembly of the Republic, thanks to the work of Carlos Pereira, Olavo Câmara and Marta Freitas, they are a source of pride for all Madeiran socialists. Now, we want even more.
These legislative changes should not be just another one, conditioned by the party dialectic driven by the PSD, which seeks to transform some into autonomists, others into centralists; some in the country’s opponents on behalf of the Region, others in defenders of the Republic; some in first class Madeirans, others in second class Madeirans – a dichotomy only real in heads with limited and distorted views. On the contrary, they could constitute the first moment in the construction of a common agenda for Madeira in the Assembly of the Republic and in the country. If it distinguishes us from unique geographic, economic and social characteristics, some for good, other characteristics, it must also distinguish us in concrete policies that enhance our territory and safeguard our population. The time has therefore come to revisit the fundamentals, namely:
1. To define what ambition we have for a future constitutional review, which clarifies and deepens our competences and autonomy;
2. To trigger, at the regional and national level, the necessary revision of the Political-Administrative Statute, outdated and outdated;
3. To discuss the Electoral Law for the Regional Assembly, reflecting on the good and bad consequences of the end of municipal circles and evaluating alternatives that guarantee greater representation and participation;
4. To move forward with the revision of the Regional Finance Law, deepening the instruments of fiscal autonomy and recognizing the costs of ultraperiphery and insularity;
5. To demand full compliance with the principle of territorial continuity, in which the transport of cargo and passengers, by sea and air, is not in the least dependent on the good will of Parliament, the Government, or any other company. Mobility is a right of citizens and a duty of the State that we cannot abdicate under any circumstances.
6. To establish as priorities for legislative activity the rights to Education, Health, Housing, Decent Employment and a Healthy Environment, with universal, free and quality public services that safeguard future generations.
Madeira cannot go on, legislature after legislature, dependent, sometimes only apparently, on the same narratives about constraints and uncertainties. These changes can and should serve to make clear commitments that initiate a new phase of regional Autonomy, without allowing external legislative or political refuges that justify the failures of the Regional Government. A new phase, with a definitive and complete statement: Madeira is Portugal!