Lead party trying to ‘scare’ the electorate.jpg

Lead party trying to ‘scare’ the electorate

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

In the run-up to Portugal’s September 27 General Election, the opposition party has denied that it has plans to totally or partially privatise either the National Health or Social Security services.

PSD Vice President, Paulo Mota Pinto denied last week that his centre-right party was planning a partial privatisation of the health and social security services and accused the government-led PS party of trying to “scare people”.

“The PS has weighed things up with regards to the electoral campaign and is using a strategy of misrepresentation and misinformation in two areas: health and social security with the goal of scaring people,” he said.

In terms of the PSD’s election manifesto, Manuela Ferreira Leite has promised to retain a “national health system available to all and that nowhere in the manifesto does it mention handing over either the health service or social security to the private sector to run,” said Paulo Mota Pinto.

“They make terrifying on-the-spot interpretations (of the manifesto) to scare people”, said the PSD Vice President on Friday, one week after the PSD party presented its election manifesto which was said to be “short and focused”.

Among the proposals put forward by the PSD’s leader Manuela Ferreira Leite in the presentation of the manifesto is a speeding up of the sluggish and inefficient judicial system with the creation of specific deadlines by which judges must make a decision over a given case.

In its manifesto, the PSD also argues for a decentralisation and de-bureaucratisation of the state handing more power and freedoms to private initiative.

The PSD’s immediate priority areas are the economy – helping selected small and medium enterprises through subsidies and tax incentives, justice reform, social security, education and policing. In the fiscal area, the party promises not to raise Income Tax (IRS), Corporation Tax (IRC) or Value Added Tax (IVA) but at the same time has not promised that it will reduce them.

It has also pledged to withhold large scale investment for big public works projects such as the new international airport and TGV until such a time as the country can afford them, but said it would provide funding for selective projects such as new hospitals, health centres, public transport and modernisation of schools.