The leader of the PSD/CDS-PP/PPM coalition in the Azores and president of the regional government, José Manuel Bolieiro, hopes to obtain a “stable majority” in the February elections to continue the public policies begun in the current legislature, which ended ahead of schedule.
“We have an electoral goal – to be able to count on a stable majority. […] A stable majority, of course, with an absolute majority of mandates, which guarantees stability for the legislature and the systemic consistency of the reformist policies that we have been developing,” said José Manuel Bolieiro, in an interview with the Lusa news agency.
The Social Democrat, leader of the regional party structure since the end of 2019, sees this objective as being in the “best interests of the Azores” – for the region “as a whole”, in the context of the relationship with the Government of the Republic and within the framework of European integration.
“The coalition’s objective, in the face of an interruption in the legislature, is continuity and consistency in its public policies and in the governance paradigm it has implemented since it took power in the region in 2020,” he explained.
He also pointed out that it was a continuity, “due to a consistency of public policies that brought good results and a truly reformist vision”.
José Manuel Cabral Dias Bolieiro, a native of the town of Povoação and resident in the municipality of Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel, believes that an absolute majority for the coalition he leads will be a benefit for democracy, since “alternation was acquired in 2020” (after more than 20 years of Socialist management) and the executive he led was consolidating the political alternative in the region.
“All the political instability was not generated by social or labor instability in the economy or in society,” he recalled.
Although he wants “a stable majority to better serve democracy in autonomy” and the development of the archipelago, the 58-year-old lawyer guarantees that he will abide by “the sovereign will of the people”.
“Even if – and I repeat – I have, out of a sense of responsibility and trust of the electorate, an absolute majority, a stable majority of governance, I also declare, with absolute certainty, that I will maintain my democratic humility for dialogue, for social consultation, not only between parties, but also with society as a whole,” he stressed.
Asked about the possibility of agreements with other parties after the elections, he replied that he would have an attitude of “dialogue, of democratic humility and of receiving good advice, wherever it comes from, in order to do more and better”.
“Without compromising, of course, my ideological, doctrinal, programmatic and strategic lines, for a reformist vision that I have of the governance of the Azores for the future,” he said.
Should he be re-elected leader of the executive, the PSD activist since 1992 – who has already been a regional deputy, mayor of Ponta Delgada (2012-2020) and president of the Povoação Municipal Assembly (2002-2009) – is planning projects for the next term in areas such as the energy and digital transition, climate action and a commitment to the blue economy and space activities.
“We have projects for all of this and we are developing them with great skill and in a still embryonic way. Hence the importance of strategic political consistency,” he noted.
The list leader for the São Miguel constituency envisions a future for the Azores that gives it “geostrategic relevance” so that the territory is “a global Atlantic hub and not just an outermost region”.
Speaking to Lusa, the leader of the PSD/CDS-PP/PPM coalition also recalled that his government had implemented measures with a “reformist vision” and innovative measures, such as the Azores Tariff and the New Elderly program.
While the first measure allows residents of the archipelago to travel by plane between islands for a maximum of 60 euros, round trip), the second allows the elderly to continue living at home and in the community, with an individual care plan in which a family member can be appointed as a home caregiver and receive monthly monetary support.
“I am convinced that I have an offer of governance for the decade that is far superior to those offered by my opponents, because I have been consistent not only in the policies and reformist vision that I have introduced, but also in the results,” he concluded.
The PSD/CDS-PP/PPM coalition has supported the executive that has governed the Autonomous Region of the Azores since 2020. The PS then lost its absolute majority and the right-wing alternative emerged, with parliamentary agreements with Chega (in the case of the coalition) and IL (in the case of the PSD).
With the 29 seats needed for an absolute majority, the first budget presented (for 2021) was approved, with the PS and BE voting against and the PAN abstaining.
A few months later, one of Chega’s deputies left the party, but continued to support the regional government as an independent.
During the discussion of the 2022 budget, Chega and IL threatened to vote against it, but ended up voting in favor, as conditions were accepted in different areas. The document for 2023 reached parliament without threats of a vote against, but Bolieiro left appeals for “political stability”.
In 2023, months after the IL and the independent MP announced the end of political agreements, the coalition saw this year’s budget rejected, which led the President of the Republic to dissolve the legislative assembly.
There are 11 candidates running in the February 4 elections, including three coalitions.