New CDS-PP/Madeira leader says “nothing will be the same” under his leadership

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The new leader of the CDS-PP/Madeira, José Manuel Rodrigues, said yesterday that the party was a “collateral victim” of the political crisis triggered by the case investigating suspected corruption in the archipelago, but guaranteed that “nothing will remain the same” under his leadership.

“The first priority of the CDS in Madeira is to contribute to the normalization of our political life. We need to repair the wounded pride of the Madeirans, which began with the judicial operation [in January], of such a scale that it left us all in a state of shock and left deep marks on politics and the regional community,” he said.

José Manuel Rodrigues was speaking at the closing of the 19th CDS-PP/Madeira congress in Funchal, where he was elected chairman of the political committee, replacing Rui Barreto, who led the party since 2018 and has held the post of regional secretary for the economy since 2019, under the coalition governments.

PSD and CDS-PP coalesced after the 2019 regional legislative elections, after the Social Democrats lost their absolute majority. In the September 2023 legislative elections, they ran together and won, but missed out on an absolute majority for one term, so the PSD negotiated a parliamentary understanding with the single PAN MP.

Following the political crisis caused by the judicial investigation in which the president of the Madeiran executive, the Social Democrat Miguel Albuquerque, was charged – which led to his resignation and the fall of the regional government – the PSD broke off the coalition with the CDS-PP and announced that it intended to go it alone in the elections, already scheduled by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, for May 26.

“The CDS, which has always been the critical conscience of this coalition and the guarantor of stability and governability, has been a collateral victim of this whole situation,” said José Manuel Rodrigues, then added: “That’s why I say, and I reaffirm, don’t ask us to take on the mistakes of others or pay for the sins of others.”

The new centrist leader believes that there is an “atmosphere of tension, of political conflict in Madeira, between the parties, within the parties, between the main political players”, stressing that the situation “is not good for democracy and contaminates the economy and society with high costs for families and businesses”.

“This climate of distrust, discredit and disbelief is damaging to everyone,” he stressed, saying that there were already “clear signs” of economic downturn in the first few months of this year.

For José Manuel Rodrigues, who has been president of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira since 2019, it is necessary to “change in order to normalize”.

“There has to be a before and after to this political crisis and the upcoming elections on May 26,” he said, adding: “Don’t count on me or the CDS for experimentalism and extremism, but I assure you that with me and the CDS nothing will remain the same.”

José Manuel Rodrigues, who had already led the party between 1997 and 2015 and was now the only candidate for the presidency of the political committee, with the global strategy motion “In the name of the future”, approved today with 126 votes, out of a total of 170 voting congressmen, guaranteed that the CDS-PP leaves the congress “cohesive, plural, renewed, reconciled with its history and ready to face the elections”.

“This crisis we’re going through is bad, but it could be an opportunity to improve the governance of Madeira and Porto Santo,” he said, reiterating that “there’s a before and after to this mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.”

“The CDS is a safe haven for those who are angry with the PSD, for those who are tired of the insanely divisive PS and for those who are disillusioned with the extremist demagoguery of Chega,” he said.

The closing session of the 19th CDS-PP/Madeira congress was attended by João Pinho de Almeida, a centrist MP in the Portuguese Parliament, who highlighted the fact that the party is now part of three governments in the country – the Government of the Republic (AD), the Government of Madeira (PSD/CDS-PP) and the Government of the Azores (PSD/CDS-PP/PPM) – after having experienced a “very difficult time” after two years out of the Portuguese Parliament.

“This gives the CDS a centrality that can never be questioned,” he said, considering that the party is “always capable of going to the polls alone”, but also has the capacity to “build governance or electoral solutions with other parties”.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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