"Autonomy with Portuguese Characteristics: A Primer on the Privileges of Portugal's Autonomous Regions for the Special Administrative Region Audience"Jason Buhi (PhD Candidate)
Hong Kong Law Journal
2016, Vol 46, Part 3, pp 879-902
Abstract: In December 2015, the National People’s Congress Basic Law Committee sent a six-person delegation to investigate the relationship between mainland Portugal and its two “ultraperipheral” autonomous regions: the Azores and Madeira archipelagos (PARs). To the residents of Hong Kong and Macau, this occurrence begs understanding of what form that autonomy takes, and what its implications could be for the future development of China’s Special Administrative Regions (SARs). The answers present both rich opportunities and challenges. This article is intended as a primer on Portuguese-style autonomy for the SAR audience. It examines both normative and empirical resources in describing Portuguese practice. Variations in context, political architecture, central-local relations and international identity are explored. Essentially, while the PARs do not have all of the privileges of the SARs in terms of economic liberty and legislative competence, they do enjoy universal suffrage, permanent constitutional recognition and privileged access to the most extensive fundamental rights regime in the world.