Alberto João Jardim

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Alberto João Jardim
2nd President of the Regional Government of Madeira Coat of arms of Madeira.png
In office
17 March 1978 – 20 April 2015
Vice President João Cunha e Silva
Preceded by Jaime Ornelas Camacho
Succeeded by Miguel Albuquerque
Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Madeira
In office
1978 – 12 January 2015
Succeeded by Miguel Albuquerque
Personal details
Born (1943-02-04) 4 February 1943 (age 74)
Santa Luzia, Funchal
Madeira Madeira
Nationality Portuguese
Political party Logo PSD cor.PNG PSD of Madeira
Spouse(s) Maria Ângela Andrade Martins (1968–present)
Children 3
Mother Marceliana do Patrocínio de Jesus Cardoso
Father Alberto Gonçalves Jardim
Alma mater University of Coimbra

Alberto João Cardoso Gonçalves Jardim, GCIH (Portuguese pronunciation: [aɫˈbɛɾtu ʒuˈɐ̃w̃ ʒɐɾˈdĩ], (born 4 February 1943 in Santa Luzia, Funchal, Madeira Island) is a Portuguese politician who was the President of the Regional Government of Madeira, Portugal, from 1978 to 2015. He is a controversial political figure in Portugal.

Early years[edit]

Jardim was born on Madeira Island in 1943, son of Alberto Gonçalves Jardim (d. 1954) and wife Marceliana do Patrocínio de Jesus Cardoso (Funchal, São Pedro, baptized 2 September 1909 – 29 July 2006). He went to Coimbra in order to study at the local university, and he lived there for over a decade as a student. He was awarded a degree of Licentiate in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra in 1973, with a final grade of 11 (out of 20).[citation needed]

Jardim became a secondary school teacher. He was also director of the Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional da Ilha da Madeira (Employment and Vocational Training Centre of Madeira Island). As a journalist, he was director of "Jornal da Madeira", and wrote for different Portuguese newspapers and magazines.[citation needed]


He was one of the Founders[citation needed] of the then Popular Democratic Party (PPD) in May 1974, a month after the Carnation Revolution, together with Francisco Sá Carneiro, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Joaquim Magalhães Mota, Carlos Mota Pinto, João Bosco Mota Amaral, António Barbosa de Melo and António Marques Mendes, and co-founder of its Madeiran branch.

First elected in 1978 at the age of 35, Alberto João Jardim was then successively elected President of the Regional Government of Madeira 10 times. He is a member of the:

He is one of the longest-serving, democratically elected leaders of any jurisdiction in the world.

Alberto João Jardim is also a member and former Vice President (2000–2001) of the European Union Committee of the Regions. He is Honorary President of the European Summit of Regions & Cities.

He is the founder and a member of the Assembly of European Regions. He was Vice President of European People's Party.

On 19 February 2007, he resigned from his office in protest against the new law on regional finances enacted by the national government of José Sócrates. Due to his resignation, early elections had to be scheduled, which he won easily. The national government, nevertheless, announced that the law wouldn't be changed.

On 8 January 2011, he suffered a heart attack but recovered and won elections again on 9 October 2011, after winning he promised to resign in early 2015.

On 12 January 2015 he retired as President of the Social Democratic Party of Madeira, elections were held and Miguel Albuquerque succeeded him as President of the Social Democratic Party of Madeira.

On 14 February 2015 during the carnival of Madeira which Alberto usually participates, he wore a Greek traditional hat, he stated that it was to show his solidarity for the people of Greece and Syriza. He also warned that the new government of Madeira that will replace him should be strong and not bow to the government of Lisbon, because the people of Madeira want strong leadership because Madeira has been robbed by Lisbon for 5 and half centuries, therefore justifying the financial hole that occurred during the later part of his Presidency and if they fail to deliver Je suis un Syriza (I am a Syriza) (It has been speculated that this could mean he would make a comeback if Madeira needed him).[1]

On 29 March 2015 regional elections were held and Alberto ruled himself out as he had said he would in 2011, Miguel Albuquerque won the election and became the new president on 20 April 2015.


A controversial personality, Jardim is usually seen as an outspoken populist, who is infamous for his often outspoken remarks about his political opponents, from left to right, including several journalists.

As Madeira's democratically elected political leader for over 30 years, he has many supporters who view him as a responsible and proactive governor, particularly well regarded in the Archipelago of Madeira proper. Despite his confrontational, explosive and sometimes impolite personality, Jardim has claimed many benefits and privileges for Madeira, helping the region to improve in several fields throughout the years it has been under his leadership.

However, the European Union assistance to its ultra-peripheral regions, which includes the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, has played a major role in the region's development - Madeira's development has been massively aided by structural and cohesion funds allocated by the European Union to the regional government.[2]

In addition, Jardim's government of the autonomous region was financially supported, decade across decade, by massive public debt creation and wild over-expenditure.[3] An even more surprising scandal was reported on 16 September 2011, when Portugal's central bank said Madeira island had under-reported its debt since 2004, putting further pressure on the country to meet deficit targets under an international bailout. An evaluation conducted by the Bank of Portugal of Madeira's accounts showed it failed to report EUR1.1 billion ($1.53 billion) in debt from 2008 to 2010 alone. The Bank of Portugal called the omission "grave," adding it doesn't know of any similar cases in the rest of the country.[4]

The debt was finally totaled at 6 billion, €3 billion less than the total that Alberto said mainland Portugal owed Madeira.

His name has been often associated with FLAMA, the archipelago's defunct far-right separatist organization that undertook 70 bombings in Madeira between 1975 and 1978. Although no FLAMA activists were ever brought to justice, Alberto João Jardim has often supported their cause, stating that "they should receive a reward not a punishment, since they're defenders of democracy and of the homeland".[5]

Other affiliations[edit]

  • He was a fan of C.S. Marítimo, a sports club from Funchal. In 1997 he tried to join together the three biggest teams from Funchal in one unified and governmental team. Then the popular Marítimo’s supporters denied that intention in a big demonstration. After that he has been seen on the Nacional side. He will be the president of the commemorations of the 100 years of Nacional.
  • Invited Professor of the Universidade Independente, a Private University in Lisbon.


National distinctions[edit]

Foreign distinctions[edit]

Published books[edit]

  • Tribuna Livre (3 vols.)
  • Pela Autonomia e o Desenvolvimento Integral (2 vols.)
  • A Experiência da Autonomia Regional da Madeira
  • Regionalização, Europa, Estado e Poder Local


  1. ^ (in Portuguese) No desfile de Carnaval Jardim disse que está solidário com o povo grego, in RTP Madeira
  2. ^ Portugal-En Archived 2007-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ (in Portuguese) Jardim sobre Silva Lopes: "Esse senhor é um incompetente" Archived 2012-06-09 at the Wayback Machine., Diário de Notícias (September 13, 2011)
  4. ^ Island spending increases Portuguese debt load[permanent dead link], CBS from September 16, 2011
  5. ^ Fundadores da FLAMA asseguram que o ressuscitar do movimento separatista só interessa a Jardim Archived 2009-05-10 at the Wayback Machine., in Público (Portugal)
  6. ^ a b "Cidadãos Nacionais Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas (in Portuguese). Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Biografia do Presidente". Governo Regional da Madeira (in Portuguese). Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
Party political offices
Preceded by
President of the Social Democratic Party of Madeira
Succeeded by
Miguel Albuquerque
Political offices
Preceded by
Jaime Ornelas Camacho
President of the Regional Government of Madeira
Succeeded by
Miguel Albuquerque