António Cotrim/ Lusa

PAN goes into meltdown after founder admits he could return

Article updated on February 7:

After the catastrophic election results of PAN (the People Animals Nature party), former MP André Silva – PAN’s very first MP, and a shining light in animal rights legislation – has said he is ready to come back and take up where he left off.

Mr Silva quit parliament last summer, to “accompany the train of fatherhood”.

His dismay at what has happened in his absence was such that he wrote an article in Público to say if the party wanted him back, he was available – and ready to lead PAN back to “credibility”.

What followed was the equivalent of “all hell let loose”.

Current party leader Inês Sousa Real instantly went on the attack, accusing Silva of ‘opportunism’ and then, within hours, 10 members of the party’s political commission resigned, citing what they described as “total internal democratic asphyxia”.

Where that leaves PAN is now the big question.

The various resigning party members gave the reason for their walkout as “the rejection of the proposal to realise an extraordinary elective congress with a view to discussing the balance of the 2022 legislative elections, and rectifying statutes, returning the floor to the highest body of the party in an environment of internal democratic discussion and broad panorama”.

Reading between the lines it looks very much like Inês Sousa Real will be encouraged to step aside, and André Silva’s availability will indeed be embraced.

PAN was not the only minority force to dive-bomb when it came to votes on January 30, but its results were abysmal. Other losers have also started squabbling amongst themselves. The PSD for example is embroiled now in who should take over as party leader, and when. Bloco de Esquerda and PCP communists have resigned themselves to plodding along as before, while the CDS is rudderless following the resignation of former leader, Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos, as the election results came through, saying he hoped his colleagues would let him go (which they did with alacrity).

According to Expresso, the CDS faces having to move out of its historic Palácio Caldas headquarters in Lisbon, to “face expenses that have been gravely affected with the loss of representation in parliament”.

Euro MP Nuno Melo has been agitating to lead the party for some time, and seems likely to get his wish when the CDS holds its congress in the spring. Then, like André Silva (if Silva does indeed return to PAN), Nuno Melo will have to start the arduous business of regaining his damaged party’s standing in the eyes of the electorate.

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