Over the weekend, the Jornal brought forth a rival to run against Albuquerque: Jardim's 'Dummy candidate'.
Every four years Jardim goes through a ritual of abandoning power. Promising this is his last legislature, he promotes a Dummy candidate, usually some uninspiring character, preferably incompetent, and who nobody particularly likes. He calls for Party unity and, since nobody is enamored with his chosen successor, he concludes that he must carry on in power himself - for the good of the Party and of Madeira.
This has been the ritual for the last three decades ...and no one has dared challenge it.
Jardim's Dummy candidate this year was Manuel Antonio Correia, Secretary of Agriculture - a singularly uncharismatic bore whose insipid speeches last an eternity. As Secretary of Agriculture he is in charge of organizing all the agricultural festivals round the island - chestnut festival, onion festival, cherry festival, custard apple festival, lemon festival and so on - useful opportunities for Jardim to use his official status to take to the stage to praise himself and rant against the opposition.
Unlike Albuquerque's candidature, which was given no prominence, Correia's candidature was given a huge front page splash, with large photos of Jardim and the Dummy candidate side by side (think Kim Il-Sung - Kim Jong-Il) - even his CV was printed.
One of the first to show his support was the youth wing leader, Mijinhas, who had mistakenly called for the previous Dummy candidate to run against Albuquerque. Only a handful of the nomenklatura, however, have joined him in support... the Dummy candidature is only being mooted 'provided that Jardim does not run himself'!