Abortion referendum to cost tax payer 10 million euros.jpg

Abortion referendum to cost tax payer 10 million euros

THE NATIONWIDE referendum on February 11 which will decide if abortions in Portugal are to become legal will cost the tax payer 10 million euros.

The expense of putting the question to the public is typical of referendums of this kind according to the Secretariado Técnico dos Assuntos para o Processo Eleitoral (STAPE), the technical secretariat of electoral affairs.

Its director Jorge Miguéis told the Portuguese news agency Lusa: “This expenditure is typical of an electoral process of this type and if we can spend less money, we will.”

According to STAPE, four million euros will go on paying those manning the voting booths and the vote counters, while a further undisclosed sum will be spent on monitoring the event, civic, social and political party expenses for both lobbies and the overall organisation and publicity.

Staff costs

The substantial slice of the budget is going on staff directly involved in the referendum count because “it is difficult to find a substantial number of people to man all of the voting stations”, said Jorge Miguéis.

In accordance with the Portuguese electoral law governing such referendum and particularly following the problems in the way votes were counted in the 1998 abortion referendum, each member of the public working on the referendum day on February 11, will be entitled to receive remuneration worth 71.65 euros from the state.

STAPE says that two million euros at least will go on other expenses, such as printing out posters and leaflets, as well as placing advertising in national newspapers and on television.

Officially sanctioned and launched by the President of the Portuguese Republic, Cavaco Silva on November 29, 2006, the electoral campaign will officially begin on January 30 and close on February 9.

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