/Madeira elections: a landslide?

Madeira elections: a landslide?

Madeira elections: a landslide?

Portugal is a unitary state, like the United Kingdom. It does not comprise anything like a federal or a regional system (like it happens in Spain, Germany or the United States). There are no regional elections, apart from the municipal (local) elections, last held in 2017.

It might seem odd, then, the recent regional elections in the Madeira Islands. The two Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and Azores, for geographical and political reasons, are an exception to the unitary state system. They’re considered autonomous regions and they regularly hold elections for a regional assembly.

Historical result…

Much like at a national level, the main parties in the island where Cristiano Ronaldo was born are the centre-right PSD (Social Democrats) and the centre-left PS (Socialists). Madeira is considered the biggest redoubt of the Social Democrats, who had won with an absolute majority every regional election since the Carnation Revolution (when the autonomy Statute was created). PSD usually gets the most vote in general and municipal elections.

Not this time. The election held on 22nd September (Portuguese always vote on Sundays) determined that the Social Democrats, for the first time, did not get the absolute majority in the Madeiran Assembly. They only got 21 out of the 47 places for MPs, while the Socialists, usually the second most voted party, achieved 19. Some sort of coalition or arrangement will be needed to get a majority of 24 MP.

…but not a landslide

The right-wing CDS party (a mix of liberals, conservatives and Catholics) got 3 MP, and it is the most likely partner for the Social Democrats. It is highly unlikely, given the existing acrimony at a national level between the CDS and the Socialists, to see them form a coalition. Even then, they would need to get another small party on board.

The result was expected, as the Social Democrat rule may be exhausted after four decades and with no more big infrastructures to build. Nonetheless, this could hardly be considered a massive landslide. If Juventus (where the Madeiran Ronaldo plays football currently) lost the championship by a couple of points after winning eight in a row, one would not talk of a “crisis”.

Political stability showing up in Madeira, as in the rest of Portugal.