‘Whoever crosses my path will have to confront me’, warned Bertie John (Alberto João), flanked by his dummy candidate, Manuel António Correia, at an inauguration ceremony in the mountains yesterday.
At stake are the dates for the local party congress where his leadership is to be challenged by the Funchal Mayor, Albuquerque. Bertie does not want the congress to be held next year, prior to the municipal elections in the Fall. Waiting until 2014 means his only rival, Albuquerque, will be weakened (he cannot run for a further term as Mayor) and therefore presents less of a threat to Bertie’s leadership - There is no limit of mandates for the President, which means Bertie can cling to power indefinitely.
‘Whoever does not toe the line will be defeated and removed’ promised Bertie, as he praised those who had always shown ‘unequivocal loyalty to the party’ (i.e. to himself). ‘The friends of my enemies are my enemies and the enemies of my enemies are my friends!’
Bertie indicated that he would not candidate himself again for Party leadership if the congress is to be held in 2014, as he wishes, but that he would stand to defeat Albuquerque if the congress is held earlier, in 2013. Aside from Albuquerque, the only challengers for the leadership are Jardim’s own dummy candidates, who only agree to run if Bertie withdraws.Those who know Bertie know they must take his indication that he will not run for the leadership in 2014 with a pinch of salt. The only plausible reason to delay the congress is to buy time and weaken his only rival.