PM Costa did not look comfortable listening to minority party 'interventions' today

Heated moments in parliament

… but PS programme unaffected

There have been some very heated moments in parliament today as MPs prepare to vote on the government’s programme for the next four and a half years.

Leader of the House, former head of diplomacy Augusto Santos Silva, had to cut CHEGA leader André Ventura off mid-invective as he was veering too much towards the ‘hate speech’ that Santos Silva has warned he will not tolerate.

Mr Santos Silva’s intervention received applause from almost every other party – but the truth is today was not a day for applause.

It was a day for accepting that PS Socialists have a majority, and therefore their plan –  which has been described by those who understand the challenges as “a great disillusion” – will be approved, and the country will have to wait and see what happens further down the line. 

None of the minority parties are supporting CHEGA’s motion of rejection, but they have all essentially shown their own rejection.

Bloco de Esquerda’s Catarina Martins said “the world has changed, but the government has stayed in the same place”, almost word for word the observation made by LIVRE last week.

Iniciativa Liberal laid into the programme, claiming the government has “ignored the effects of the pandemic and the existence of a war in Europe” (pretty much what it said a week ago, in fact), while PCP communists have returned from the ‘brink’ of extraordinary comments made earlier this week, to stress that the government “refuses to recognise the depth and existence of the country’s structural problems, in order not to confront itself with the responsibility of dealing with them”.

PAN is not happy, but refusing to support CHEGA’s motion of rejection, calling it “populist show-off” – and CHEGA is not happy, not just for being stopped mid-flow in a commentary blaming a great deal of the country’s woes on the gypsy community, but because in spite of being the country’s 3rd most-voted force, very few are taking it seriously.

On this point, it has to be said that a number of council members voted in on CHEGA’s ticket in the municipal elections last September have since left the party and continue in their roles as ‘independents’.

In other words, CHEGA’s glee at the results of January’s legislative elections is already losing quite a bit of its lustre.

PSD remains the country’s 2nd political force – but in limbo with leader Rui Rio who refuses to stand aside before June, and thus leaves the party hamstrung when it comes to ‘messages’ of a relevant alternative.

Rio nonetheless gave his opinion of the day: “A series of measures have been presented which are well intentioned but they need to be better explained. Many of them are very generalised. We will have to see how they will be achieved”…

In the House he said the government’s programme was something his party could not uphold. “For us there would have to be more rigor, less facilitism; more long-term vision and less concern over marketing; more reformist spirit and less focus on soundbites (in the press); more support for businesses, less taxation – and very clearly less State and more civil society”.

No-one is happy today; possibly not even PS Socialists as theirs is the responsibility now to unite Portugal and get it back on track.

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