Home News Decentralization could become a reality for the Algarve

Decentralization could become a reality for the Algarve

Published on 02/08/2019

In a report that was delivered this Tuesday to the Assembly of the Republic, the Algarve is one of five administrative regions proposed by the Independent Commission for Decentralization.

The commission, which is led by former minister of Industry and Technology João Cravinho, believes that it will be possible to move forward with the new administrative model as early as 2021, when the local elections are held.

North, Centre, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, Alentejo and the Algarve are the five proposed administrative regions, coinciding with the current Commission for Regional Coordination and Development map.

The Independent Commission proposed arriving at an answer to the decision on regionalization by referendum.

The report states that the Independent Commission is “aware that the proposed model raises issues that need to be taken into consideration, but we are certain it is the most appropriate and consensual”. Factors taken in to account are listed as “historical and cultural identity factors”, and the correct balance between the “interests” and the “needs” of the local people is highlighted in the report.

However, in the Algarve, this isn’t believed to be so much of an issue. João Cravinho, in May, released a statement admitting that the Algarve is a region “with its own characteristics“, he proposes that the report should be viewed favourably since “there are no map issues, it is known where the Algarve ends and there is a uniting historical identity in the region. The distances are not large and there are no mountains separating people. There is convergence between the people of the Algarve and favourable conditions [for regionalization to advance], without a doubt”.

The report proposes the creation and election of a regional assembly, with non-full-time members. The president of the administrative region will not be elected directly, but by the members of the assembly.

The 300-page document also proposes the transfer of some funds from the state budget directly to the regions, and the creation of a public regional development bank.

The Independent Technical Commission believes that, if there is political will, there is a possibility that the proposed model could be operational two years from now. According to the newspaper Público, the idea is that the referendum could be held in March 2021 and the first election of the assembly in October, simultaneously with the local elections.

PS Algarve was the first political party to react to the report’s content. In a statement sent to newsrooms, the Algarve socialists welcomed “the conclusions of the Independent Commission for Decentralization” and ensured that it would be their goal to “take over this reform as the goal of the next Socialist Party Government”.

The creation of the Algarve Administrative Region is described by PS Algarve as “an objective of identity” of the party in the region. The socialists viewed the recent report “with great political satisfaction at the existence of a consensus within the Independent Commission for Decentralization“.

The report aimed to bring together personalities from different political and partisan backgrounds, and display the model and timetable for the creation and gradual implementation of the administrative regions.