André Silva
André Silva (Photo: PAN)

PAN party has ‘lost its backbone’, says former leader

André Silva has directed harsh criticism at the party 

Portugal’s former People-Animals-Nature Party (PAN) leader André Silva has announced his disaffiliation from the party, claiming that it has “lost its backbone” by supporting the regional government of Madeira.

My militancy in the party becomes impossible to bear when the PAN persists in supporting the perpetuation of a tentacular regime whose modus operandi has been exposed and creates revulsion in any democrat,” writes the former spokesman for the party now led by Inês de Sousa Real in the Público newspaper.

In an opinion piece entitled “PAN no longer represents me”, the first MP elected by the party in 2015 considered that the PAN “has become deeply irresponsible, has forgotten those who have no voice, has given up fighting, and so today represents 1% of voting intentions”.

“It has also ceased to represent me and today (Monday) I have announced my departure,” said the spokesperson between 2014 and 2021, for whom the party “is apparently moving from political drawer to drawer in search of the one with the most mandates to offer it.”

According to André Silva, the “notorious willingness to dance with (almost) everyone”, combined with the pretence of fostering an image of moderation and wisdom, has transformed the “PAN into a party that is almost useless to the causes it claims to defend and that justify its existence” in the country.

“More than elastic, the PAN is now plastic. This plasticity was displayed in the choice to support the PSD/CDS government in Madeira,” criticised the former MP, a choice he described as “aberrant” for three reasons: “because of the regime in question, because of the absence of a quid pro quo for change, because of the justifications put forward”.

But also because of the “sale of the party’s values”, André Silva lamented, considering that the “PAN has lost its spine because it wants to dance so much” in the choices it has made in Madeira, harshly criticising its position on the Curral das Freiras cable car project.

In a reaction to this outburst, broadcast on RTP3, the PAN spokeswoman considered that the arguments put forward by André Silva “have no raison d’être”.

“This is a unique and exclusively personal decision, which I must respect, although I think the timing of it is profoundly immature,” criticised Inês de Sousa Real, arguing that the former leader’s decision “denotes that there is no real commitment to the causes”.

Speaking moments before the debate with the far-right Chega Party leader, in the context of the legislative elections on 10 March, the PAN’s sole member of parliament also pointed out that “PAN has been the opposition party that has achieved the most for the causes it represents in the country’s parliament”.

Following the regional elections in September 2023, the regional MP elected by PAN, Mónica Freitas, and the leader of the PSD/Madeira negotiated a parliamentary impact agreement for the legislature, thus guaranteeing the viability of the third executive headed by Miguel Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, the president of the Madeiran government submitted his resignation to the country’s president a week ago, after being made an official suspect in a case investigating suspected corruption in Madeira, which led to the detention of the mayor of Funchal, Pedro Calado (PSD), who resigned, and two businessmen from the construction industry.

Source: LUSA