By CHRIS GRAEME
ELECTIONS FOR Lisbon Câmara are to be held on July 1 following the collapse of the Carmona Rodrigues administration last week.
The city’s Civil Government Office (Governo Civil), which is currently running day-to-day administrative affairs in Lisbon, announced the decision on Monday.
The move followed last week’s decision by cross-party members of the Câmara to resign en-masse making the position of the Câmara President, Dr. António Carmona Rodrigues, untenable.
Carmona Rodrigues had insisted two weeks ago that he would only resign his post at the head of the municipal authority “if all the other Câmara members resigned”.
The PSD independent candidate had refused to take PSD opposition leader Marques Mendes’ advice to stand down and allow elections to be called by saying, “I am not about to abandon ship neither am I going to be thrown overboard”. However, within one day of making that statement, the Câmara President was questioned for six hours as a material witness and possible accessory to a major corruption scandal involving a number of later suspended Câmara executive officers and the private car park company Bragaparques.
The President was finally forced to stand down last week bitterly saying he had been made the victim of a politically motivated mudslinging campaign to discredit his position as municipal leader.
So far, confirmed candidates to stand in the forthcoming elections include: former Minister for Internal Affairs António Costa (PS), Telmo Correia (CDS-PP), former Polícia Judiciária director Fernando Negrão (PSD), Order of Architects President Helena Roseta (PS Independent), former Câmara member Ruben de Carvalho (PCP), former Câmara member José Sá Fernandes (BE), former CDS leader Manuel Monteiro (PND), ex-Câmara President Carmona Rodrigues (PSD-Independent), and either Nobre Guedes or Teresa Caeiro (CDS/PP). An official list of candidates was due to be published this week.
The presidency of the country’s most important and richest municipal council is often seen as a springboard for higher political office. Both Jorge Sampaio and Pedro Santana Lopes succeeded to the government after leading the Câmara, Sampaio as President of the Republic and Santana Lopes as Prime Minister.
The government’s preferred candidate for the PS had been former party leader Ferro Rodrigues who is currently serving the government in a diplomatic capacity in Brussels. However, he declined the post saying he didn’t want to “be in the full glare of the publicity” that would invariably come with the job.
Under the terms of election law, each candidate must get at least 4,000 signatures of party support in order to stand.
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