Miguel Albuquerque, the former mayor of Funchal has reportedly gathered the 300 signatures needed to call for an early congress in order to challenge Jardim for party leadership. Last year Albuquerque lost the internal elections by a margin of 2%. Jardim's popularity has since declined, but he remains intent on staying in power.
The Diário today revealed that Jardim has lodged a complaint to the party's political comission calling for a disciplinary process against Albuquerque which would result in a two year suspension of the right to vote or to be elected, thus frustrating the latter's leaderhip challenge.
Jardim acuses Albuquerque of harming party unity and of verbal ofenses. At stake are a series of articles published in the press. In one article, titled "The Witch Hunt", Albuquerque accuses Jardim of carrying out internal reprisals against those who do not bow to his authoritarian attitudes and are not intimidated by his excesses and insults. He lamented that democracy within the PSD had been stifled and questioned the lack of transparency within the party, saying that the rights of militants were being trampled underfoot to further the obsessions of a worn-out leadership which has lost its way and refuses to look to the future.