Capital’s troubled leader.jpg

Capital’s troubled leader

THE PRESIDENT of Lisbon Câmara, Carmona Rodrigues, has said he was prepared to stand as a candidate in the Lisbon municipal elections in 2009.

Speaking on Portuguese television station RTP the troubled president said that he was firmly against interim elections following a string of corruption scandals that have rocked his cross-party coalition administration in the past 12 months.

The scandals involving shady land deals with Bragaparques, fat cat bonuses to Lisbon municipal company bosses at EPUL, incompetence and estimate and invoice irregularities at municipal social housing organisation Gebalis, have seen the ‘temporary’ departure of two key câmara executive officers: Urban planning councillor Gabriela Seara and deputy president Fontão de Carvalho pending police investigations.

Carmona Rodrigues said that any eventual fresh elections for the city before 2009 “would create a very negative and serious situation for Lisbon and its citizens. It would prove disruptive and stop everything dead in its tracks, shutting the effective governance of Lisbon down for at least three years,” he warned.

The Mayor rejected claims that the current câmara mandate was “unstable” and “weak” and had “ground to a halt” as a result of the recent scandals.

Rodrigues also said that at the câmara it was “business as usual”.

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