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XII Regional Government of the Azores Inauguration speech

 

Full text of the speech delivered on November 4th 2016 by the President of the Government, Vasco Cordeiro, at the Solemn Session of the Inauguration of the XII Regional Government of the Azores:

"Following the regional elections of October 16, the XII Regional Government of the Azores takes office today at the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of the Azores.
 
It is an act of great symbolism that magnifies and honours our Autonomy as one of the most visible manifestations of the political relevance of the parliamentary system that represents all Azoreans.
 
In this regard, as President of the XII Government of the Azores, I welcome the 57 members of the Regional Assembly who will now begin their term in XI Legislative Period. I wished them every possible success in this huge responsibility to serve and represent the Azoreans from each and every island.
 
I greet the President of the Assembly, congratulating her on the election and wishing her, on my behalf and on behalf of the entire Government, a fruitful work for the benefit of the Azorean Parliament and of our Region.
 
I convey to you and to the remaining members of the Assembly our willingness to maintain and reinforce the institutional relation with this Parliament, always with the utmost respect for the powers of each of these bodies.
 
This has happened over the last 40 years and will remain as so. It honours the self-government bodies of the Azores as well as the autonomic legacy that today we - Assembly and Government - embody, represent and promote.
 
I also leave a word of recognition to all those who served the Azores during the term and the legislative period that now ended, highlighting their commitment and dedication in the demanding public service task they have carried out. 
 
To the members of the XI Government who are now leaving office, I leave my gratitude, acknowledgement and appraisal for their availability, their work and their spirit of service in four years of great complexity; they have sacrificed a considerable part of their professional life, personal life and family life to the public cause.
 
To the Members of Parliament representing all parties that are terminating their duties at the end of the X Legislative Period, a thank you and a word of recognition for the availability, contribution and spirit of service they have demonstrated in this noble task of representing our fellow citizens.
 
To all, on behalf of the XII Government, I offer my best wishes in this new phase of the life they will now begin.
 
Following the elections of October 16, this Parliament will have a new composition that reflects the will as expressed by Azorean citizens in the polls. Once again, it demonstrates the merits of an electoral law that favours political plurality and the representativeness of our archipelago in this house.
 
It is an electoral system that privileges representative democracy in which voters should be adequately represented at this Parliament and, most importantly, this raises our responsibility to respond to their concerns and aspirations.
 
The October elections also resulted in the fact that Azorean citizens have privileged political stability as an asset in itself, ensuring a parliamentary majority in support of the Government of the Azores.
 
Never before - as evidenced by several examples throughout Europe - have political and governmental stability been privileged as a means to ensure the proper conditions for the smooth implementation of a programme that was chosen by the majority of voters.
 
On the part of the Government, there is the solemn assurance that we are and will always be available to answer before this Parliament and dialogue on behalf of the best interests of the Azorean people, as is our duty and our democratic belief, in order to establish a true political and institutional relation among the self-government bodies of the Autonomous Region of the Azores.
 
We dare to think that differences in political views and understanding among parties cannot be regarded as insurmountable barriers, like a sort of Manichaeism that reduces the full exercise of democracy; otherwise we would be defrauding the expectations placed on all of us on October 16.
 
While it is true that we have a clear and categorical choice of the Azoreans about the path they want for our Region in the future, it is also true that this path could be even more productive when shaped by the political and institutional dialogue with this Assembly, social partners and all entities representing the Azorean society, without calling into question its guidelines and strategic choices.
 
And so our Autonomy is fulfilled! 
 
Electoral exercise is not a mere formality in democracy. 
 
We must all understand and live up to the will expressed in the polls.
 
And while this is true for those who govern, I believe it is also true for those who have the duty and responsibility to supervise governmental action.
 
Each electoral act represent, in democracy, a renewed ambition for the challenges that we face as a society as well as for the responses and solutions we have to provide as representatives of the people.
 
In regard to the electoral process, I have to convey, in good conscience, the deep concern that I, as President of the Government, see in the evolution of abstention in the Azores.
 
While there is a series of factors that contribute to it, the fact is that the withdrawal of our people from the democratic electoral process can structurally weaken our Autonomy and give more strength to those who, inside or outside, do everything to reduce and impoverish us at a political level.
 
Also on the part of the Government, there is a willingness to carry out a work that, led by this Assembly, may contribute to new and better solutions towards a desired and necessary rapprochement between Azorean citizens and their own self-government bodies, and the Autonomy that is the exclusive legacy of the Azorean People.
 
And so it can be done, either by further increasing proximity solutions between citizens and their administration or by implementing measures that encourage young people's civic participation in their communities, raising their awareness for the importance of autonomous institutions and the democratic system. Nevertheless, we must believe that the path to be followed has to continue the work for the benefit of the Azores with truth, transparency and clarification as to the decisions to be taken.
 
We are available to commit ourselves to this task, because this is not a fight for the Government or even a fight for the President of the Government.
 
This is a challenge we have to overcome for the future of our Autonomy, for the future of our Democracy and for the future of the Azores.
 
In this regard, it is also essential to reflect on how we can all prevent political battles from sliding, sometimes, to less prestigious areas of political activity.
 
This is also a challenge of our present time. We must all bring more citizens to debate and political participation and assume that argumentation, debate and political dialectics can - and should - be strict without being offensive; they can - and should - be sharp without being aggressive; they can - and should - be lively and dynamic without losing sight of what has brought us here: the discussion of ideas and proposals for the future of the Azores.
 
The XII Government of the Azores which now enters into office is focused on meeting the challenges that the Azores will face in the next four years in several areas, implementing the strategic guidelines and goals set by an electoral programme that was chosen by the majority of voters in the regional legislative elections of October 16.
 
The Government now presented to the Azorean people wants to privilege interdepartmental policies, particularly those related to the promotion of employability, fight against job insecurity, qualification and school success, combat to poverty and social exclusion, competitiveness and business innovation, and the enhancement of natural and territorial resources, among others.
 
The new structure of the Government also includes a new department dedicated to Energy, the Environment and Tourism, being areas of strategic importance to the future of the Azores. They will be reinforced in terms of their institutional component and political attention and, therefore, we believe they can further empower the Azores to overcome the global challenges we face, including job creation and wealth generation.
 
As evident, these past four years were very demanding and brought huge challenges, not only for Azorean families but also Azorean companies.
 
These were the rules of the game imposed on us in recent years.
 
We have never turned away from this fight. We have used our powers and went up to the limit of resources in order to respond to the many requests we were and are still called to answer as well as to resume the path of economic growth and employment creation.
 
We want to consolidate the signs of economic recovery in the next few years, taking advantage of the environment and the favourable conditions the Azores have for the accomplishment of this goal. Moreover, we want to establish a fairer and comprehensive relation that has been resumed between the National Government and our Region.
 
However, we cannot fall into the illusion that the next four years will be marked by abundance and easy solutions, a mistake that would be rapidly undone by the size of the challenges that still lie ahead of us.
 
There will be four years of hard work and fight. For this reason, I call each of us - public and private entities - but also each Azorean to give the best effort within our duties and activities so that we may consolidate this path of growth and definitely leave behind the times of turmoil and distress that hit us.
 
Although the Government has the duty to encourage and promote this aspiration, its accomplishment is not limited to governmental action. It rather requires joint efforts in a true alliance of commitment, will and determination among all players that take part in the process of building the future of the Autonomous Region of the Azores.
 
This does not mean that each partner should give up on its convictions and claims, which is not adequate to our Democracy and our Autonomy.
 
This assumption is based on the perspective that the things that unite us on behalf of the Azores outweigh those that separate us and, this context, we should also resort to these convictions and claims as a way to bring the Azores forward.
 
On the part of the XII Government, we provide the assurance to each party represented at this Assembly and, through them, to each Azorean citizen that we are ready, determined and committed to do our part.
 
Thus, we will honour not only those who placed their trust in us on October 16, but also all Azoreans who have the legitimate expectation to live in an increasingly developed, solidarity-based and cohesive land.
 
We are here before the Azorean people to reaffirm the Government's commitment to the future of our land, the future of our Autonomy and the future of the Azores.
 
A future that will be built on the strength of a dream and the ambition to accomplish it.
 
We are here on behalf of the dream that drives us, encourages us and makes us want to be increasingly better and more demanding with ourselves.
 
We are here to embody the dream of young Azoreans who want to invest in their qualification and training and those who are looking for an opportunity in the labour market.
 
We are here on behalf of the dream of entrepreneurs who wish to open their own business to create jobs and generate wealth in our Region.
 
We want to help the dream of entrepreneurs who want to expand their business and those of farmers who know they produce some of the best milk in the world and, therefore, are entitled to a better payment for their work.
 
We are here because we feel as ours the dream of fishers who know that what they bring from the sea is more than enough to ensure they will have more income to support their family.
 
But we are also here on behalf of the dream of the elderly who wish - who deserve! - to have more dignity, affection and support after a lifetime of work as well as of the dream of every Azorean father and mother who have the legitimate expectation of idealising the best for their children.
 
To all of them, the Regional Government says they are not alone in their ambition. We are here to help their dreams come true and, especially, our dream to build together a Region that is much more than the sum of its parts.
 
We are here on behalf of this dream. A dream called Azores that we wish to turn it into a reality day after day.
 
Let's do it!
 
I said."

 
XII Regional Government of the Azores Inauguration speech delivered by Vasco Cordeiro, November 4th 2016
 
 
 


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