Moves afoot to oust unpopular leader of opposition

PSD president Rui Rio was elected after an acrimonious leadership battle that has seen the loser (former prime minister Pedro Santana Lopes) go off and create a totally new party.

Since stepping into the shoes of former PSD leader Pedro Passos Coelho, Rio has become synonymous with controversy – perhaps the least edifying moment coming in November when he chose to wriggle out of uncomfortable media questions over absentee MPs claiming attendance allowances by answering in German.

Now it has been revealed that party bosses met in secret last week to decide on calling a national council.

The reason – “the only reason”, stresses Público – being to vote on getting rid of Rui Rio.

2019 is a key election year. A bit like the situation in UK, no matter how unhappy voters are with the powers that be, the thought of a country with the leader of the Opposition and his team at the helm seems certain to see the current status quo maintained. And that’s clearly what is behind the PSD rumblings.

Nonetheless, nothing else is clear.

Says Público, sources have intimated that it “could still be difficult” to get the requisite support from members of the national council – quite a few of which are confirmed Rio supporters.

For now, ‘mutineers’ are diplomatically trying to work out if they have enough people on board to even convene a meeting of the national council.

A fifth of members (that is, 33 names) have to be keen for debate before this can happen.

Público explains that “the lack of opposition to the government is the main concern” at play.

“Critics fear a situation will come where (the PSD becomes) are small parliamentary group of little relevance on the political panorama”. There are those who would argue that this is already the case.

There have been numerous moves and resignations within the party over the last few months on which the Resident hasn’t even reported because their impact appeared to have such negligible news worth.

Whatever ends up transpiring, it will be tortuous. Even a vote to schedule a national council will take 120 days to execute, says Público.