Monday 10 October 2011

Indebted Madeira votes long-time leader back

Alberto Joao Jardim, president of Portugal's autonomous Madeira archipelago, won regional elections Sunday, even though he has been blamed for (unreported) debts that boosted the country's overall deficit. This relates to Fitch's statement last Friday that Portugal's outlook was negative, meaning that its BBB- rating could be further downgraded in the near future. Recall that the Madeira bill further burdened Portugal's deficit (it amounted to 8.3% of GDP in June, far from the 5.9% end-of-year target). In fact the Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said recently "These irregularities... impact negatively on the country's credibility".

Official results showed that the Social Democrat Party (PSD) obtained 48.56% of the vote, its worst result under Jardim's 33-year leadership.
CDS-PP, which forms the national ruling coalition along with the PSD, came second with 17.63%, well up on the 5.34% it got in the last elections in 2007.
Portugal's main opposition party, the Socialist Party (PS), had to content itself with third place taking just 11.5% of the vote, down from second place and 15% in 2007.

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