The President of the Republic defended this Wednesday in Funchal that the autonomy of the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores must be debated with imagination and without drama, in terms of politics, economics, legislation and constitutional review.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa assumed this position at a ceremony to present the book “A autonomy da Madeira”, by Manuel Pestana dos Reis, at the Madeira Regional Legislative Assembly, in Funchal.
Before the current president of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, and his predecessor, Alberto João Jardim, the head of State considered that “it is part of the logic of democracy the dispute between citizens and political power, and the various instances of the political power” and that “it is natural that there are no easy convergences from the start, because the titles of legitimacy are different”.
This is, I repeat, the richness of democracy, without dramas, without anguish, without tensions – except for the tensions that arise from each one fulfilling their duty, the duty to represent those they consider they must represent with the title of legitimacy that watch them” he continued.
In terms of regional autonomy, the President of the Republic called for “this to be done, and for debates to be carried out, at the political, legislative, economic, social, constitutional review levels, with imagination, creativity, with the contribution of those who they are holders, with the contribution of those who were holders, with the contribution of those who will be holders”.
Because democracy does not crystallize in a moment. Nobody is eternally President of the Republic, nor President of the Assembly of the Republic, nor Prime Minister nor President of the Legislative Assembly, nor President of the Regional Government“he noted.
“We’ve all gone through it, and that’s healthy for democracy, and how good it is to recreate what was born in 1976, how healthy it is for democracy“he added.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed that “the President of the Republic has no intervention in the field of constitutional review”.
At the beginning of his speech, the head of state declared himself honored for having voted, as a constituent deputy, for “the particularly relevant step” taken in the 1976 Constitution in terms of autonomy for the autonomous regions, “in fact, in a climate of unanimity”.
The President of the Republic referred that regional autonomy is “a minimum level and a structuring pillar of the Portuguese State” and constitutes “a material limit to the exercise of the power to revise the Constitution itself”.
Further on, as a counterpoint, he argued that “Portugal is only what it is because Madeira and the Azores exist and are as they are, and are as they are in a democracy, but Madeira and the Azores are also what they are because they are Portugal. “.
If not, it would be another reality, not the one we know and appreciate. The Azores and Madeira are missed by Portugal as a whole, just as this Portuguese whole is missed by the Azores and Madeira. And this is perhaps most important when debating whether to circumscribe how far and how, and to what degree, and how far and how the autonomy of these regions is. There are limits arising from the very nature of things“he reinforced.
According to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, within these limits “there is an imagination and there is a creativity that make it unthinkable not only to have a retreat in autonomy”, but there must “be a notion that this creativity has to bear in mind the nature of that unbreakable relationship ” between the islands and the mainland.
The Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, was also present at this ceremony.
Afterwards, the President of the Republic made a short statement, at Quinta Vigia, seat of the presidency of the Regional Government of Madeira, in which he thanked Miguel Albuquerque “for the very welcoming way” in which he received him for these Day of Portugal celebrations and returned to speak of regional autonomy.
How comforting it is to watch, as we have witnessed over the last 40 years, the fruit of this autonomy, and to be able to compare what Madeira was before autonomy with what it is today, what the Azores were before autonomy and what they are today, as autonomy has allowed not only politically, but also economic, social and cultural terms, to take further the affirmation of the rights of the Madeiran and Azorean peoples.“, said.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa praised “the concern for more and better” by the president of the Madeiran executive, adding: “This is the essence of democracy: an ongoing process, a living reality, with new challenges and new answers.”
The head of state pointed to the sea as a common challenge and strategic priority, welcomed “the Madeiran communities and in general the Portuguese communities spread throughout the world” and evoked “the 600 years of the discovery of Madeira and Porto Santo”.
Afterwards, he also referred to the awaited “re-election of the engineer Guterres as secretary-general of the United Nations”, declaring: “Everything forms a harmonious whole, celebrated this June 10th, here in this almost paradise that is Madeira”.