Due to its distinct geography, economy, social and cultural situation, as well as the historical autonomic aspirations of the Madeiran island population, the Autonomous Regions of Madeira was established in 1976. Although it is a politico-administrative autonomic region the Portuguese constitution specifies both a regional and national connection, obliging their administrations to maintain democratic principles and promote regional interests, while still reinforcing national unity. As defined by the Portuguese constitution and other laws, Madeira possesses its own political and administrative statute and its own government. The branches of Government are the Regional Government and the Legislative Assembly, the latter being elected by universal suffrage, using the D'Hondt method of proportional representation. The president of the Regional Government is appointed by the Representative of the Republic according to the results of the election to the legislative assemblies.