Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal. Autonomy was granted on the 1st of July 1976, as a result of the revolution of the 25th of April 1974 that swept away the last vestiges of the Salazar dictatorship that had governed mainland Portugal, the islands and the colonies since 1928. Thus, on the first day of July, which is a holiday, we celebrate Madeira Day or the Day of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The level of autonomy is ever changing and ever disputed, but is ultimately decided upon by the Assembleia da República that sits in Lisbon.
As Portuguese citizens, Madeirans participate in both national and regional elections, being also represented at a local level by the Regional Government and the Legislative Assembly of Madeira. The latter is a legislative body, comprised by 47 members, that also exercises parliamentary scrutiny. Elections for the Lisbon parliament occur at least every four years, as do separate elections for the President of the Republic, the regional government and the local councils.
The current President of the Regional Government is Miguel Albuquerque, elected in 2015, after 19 years in office as the mayor of Funchal. In 2013, he was succeeded by Paulo Alexandre Nascimento Cafôfo, the current mayor of the capital city.
One unavoidable figure of the Government in Madeira and undoubtedly one of the most controversial politicians in Portugal is Dr Alberto João Jardim. Over 37 years as the President of the Regional Government (1978 to 2015), he was a champion of Madeira and took his fight to the highest levels of Government on the mainland and to the European bureaucrats in Brussels. The astonishing development of the island during his governance period can largely be attributed to his dedication and very personal brand of politics.