Archive image of Pedro Santana Lopes, taken by Manuel Almeida/ Lusa
Archive image of Pedro Santana Lopes, taken by Manuel Almeida/ Lusa

Former prime minister asks Marcelo to “think about dissolving parliament”

Santana Lopes believes if nothing is done, system will enter “serious degradation”

Former PSD prime minister Pedro Santana Lopes has put into words what a lot of people may be thinking: it is time for President Marcelo to think about dissolving parliament.

With the pantomime of a parliamentary inquiry into the management of State airline TAP playing out, Santana Lopes tells Público that the state of degradation in politics has “reached the point of revealing an osmosis, a promiscuity, a collusion between the State, the government and the management of public companies that is completely unacceptable”.

“I have never seen anything like this” in the history of democratic governments in Portugal, he told his interviewer.

Now mayor of Figueira da Foz, Santana Lopes says if nothing is done, he believes “more people will flee to extremist solutions”.

“With all due consideration for the prime minister, we are talking about objective facts (thus) the responsibility has become increasingly his”, he said, referring to his own history, in which at the helm of a PSD government in 2004, the then Socialist president Jorge Sampaio dissolved parliament due to what he perceived to be a lack of stability.

What is going on now with António Costa – and an executive that is being wrong-footed time and again – is more (in terms of seriousness) than what was going on in his day, the political veteran considers, referring pointedly to the “recent controversies involving TAP”. These are so many, and so varied, that SIC television has created its own link to them.

As Santana Lopes tells Público, a month ago, in interview with RTP, the President rejected the possibility of dissolving parliament explaining that he has always defended the observance of legislatures (the current one is due to continue until 2026).

But at the same time, Marcelo said he would not renounce the power of dissolution (“I have got used to never saying never”, he told RTP).

“I feel that if there is something pathological, exceptional, that irregular functioning of the institutions takes on such a dimension that it paralyzes the existence of the budget and makes governance impossible, I will consider (dissolution) well”.

The last few months marked as they have been by strikes, work-to-rules, protests, and outrage and anger particularly with regard to changes to law in the name of promoting affordable housing, may well, in the end, fit the ticket – which is also so ironic in that the current PM is said to have his eyes on a top job in Europe ‘if only he was free to take it…”

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