By: CHRIS GRAEME
With the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) swooping on Lisbon Câmara offices on Thursday, May 31, for the third time, taking away dossiers, computers and documents in their ongoing investigation into the Bragaparques scandal, the troubled Lisbon municipal authority gears itself up for snap elections on July 15. The Resident takes a look at what the main front running candidates have to say.
CDS-PP candidate Telmo Correia believes that the administration of the city of Lisbon is in a “serious state” suffering from a “lack of transparency” where the city’s politics, politicians and policies are indistinguishable from a pervading climate of scandal and suspicion.
Telmo Correia says that “the last thing Lisbon needs is more concrete and cement” and that, should he win the elections, people, not architectural projects, will be his priority.
The CDS-PP (popular party) candidate also criticises the millions of euros being spent on overtime, and called for a total overhaul and reorganisation of the administrative system.
The candidate also believes that closing down Lisbon’s Portela International Airport, after millions had been spent on modernising and expanding it, would be “a crime”.
PSD (social democratic party) candidate Fernando Negrão says that Lisbon Câmara, under the Presidency of Carmona Rodrigues, suffered from a “lack of leadership”.
Negrão says that, should he be elected as Câmara President, he will set up a senate house for the city’s governance which would not add on additional costs. The idea would be to bring together a ‘think tank’ of the best architects, engineers, lawyers, cultural agents, financial leaders, social service directors and university professors to help plan a coherent policy for the city and give it some direction. “We have to have responsible people who are not afraid of leading and not afraid of being criticised,” he said.
PS (socialist party) candidate António Costa, the government’s favourite choice for the election campaign, says that, first and foremost, his Presidency would work at “putting Lisbon’s finances on a firm footing”. He said that the government and the Câmara needed to hammer out an emergency short-term plan of action to reduce Lisbon’s chronic multi billion euro deficit.
“Lisbon Câmara’s debt to suppliers alone runs into 516 million euros,” he said. That figure represents 85 per cent of the municipal authority’s total receipts for 2006. He added that, between 2001 and 2006, the burden of debt to suppliers had increased eight fold.
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