New Azorean government takes office today

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The new government of the Azores, made up of a PSD, CDS-PP and PPM coalition and chaired by social democrat José Manuel Bolieiro, takes office today before the regional parliament, in a ceremony scheduled for 15:00 (16:00 in Lisbon), in the city of Horta.

The session, which marks the start of the new legislature after the early regional elections of February 4, which the PSD/CDS-PP/PPM coalition won but without an absolute majority, will allow most of the previous leaders to be reappointed, without any major changes to the executive’s structure.

On Friday, after handing over the list of names to the representative of the Republic for the Azores, Pedro Catarino, the president of the government-designate announced the full composition of the new executive, whose main novelty is the departure of Pedro Faria e Castro from the Regional Undersecretariat for the Presidency and the entry of Paulo Estêvão, leader of the PPM in the Azores, who will occupy the post of Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs and Communities.

Another change in the new executive is the arrival of Mário Rui Pinho, until now regional director for Maritime Policies, to take Manuel São João’s place in the Regional Secretariat for the Sea and Fisheries.

The rest of the government officials retain the same portfolios: José Manuel Bolieiro in the Government Presidency; Artur Lima (CDS-PP leader) in the Vice-Presidency; Duarte Freitas in the Regional Secretariat for Finance, Planning and Public Administration; Sofia Ribeiro in the Regional Secretariat for Education, Culture and Sport; Mónica Seidi in the Regional Secretariat for Health and Social Security; António Ventura in the Regional Secretariat for Agriculture and Food; Berta Cabral in the Regional Secretariat for Tourism, Mobility and Infrastructure; Maria João Carreiro in the Regional Secretariat for Youth, Housing and Employment; and Alonso Miguel in the Regional Secretariat for the Environment and Climate Action.

After taking office, the PSD/CDS-PP and PPM coalition executive has ten days to deliver the Government Program, the document that contains the main political guidelines and measures to be proposed for the entire legislature, to the Regional Assembly.

According to the Political-Administrative Statute of the Azores, the debate on the government’s program must take place no later than the 15th day after the executive takes office and the discussion on the document “may not exceed three days”.

Until the end of the debate, any parliamentary group can propose the rejection of the executive’s program, and the approval of this rejection requires an absolute majority and “implies the resignation of the government”.

The PS, the largest opposition party, has already announced that it will vote against the Government Program, as has the BE’s single deputy, while the IL and PAN parliamentary representations will only decide after seeing the document.

Chega, the third most voted political force in the Azores, with five MPs, makes its vote dependent on a possible understanding with the PSD, the largest party in the coalition.

On the night of the elections, José Manuel Bolieiro said that he would govern with a “relative majority”, without making government coalitions with any other political force, despite the fact that the coalition elected only 26 of the 57 regional deputies, three less than the 29 needed to obtain an absolute majority.

The Socialist Party elected 23 deputies, Chega five and BE, IL and PAN one each.

The February 4 elections took place after the November rejection of the Region’s Plan and Budget proposals for this year, due to the abstention of Chega and PAN and the votes against by PS, IL and BE, a situation that led the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to dissolve parliament and call early elections.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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