Parliament quashes last government’s “transport privatisations” in Lisbon and Porto

Ten ‘diplomas’ signalling the privatisation of transport services in Lisbon and Porto have been quashed in another show of left-wing power in Parliament.

The combined forces of PS, PCP, BE, PEV and PAN came into play on the second “historic” day of the new government.

Socialist MP João Paulo Correia said it was time “to put an end to the largest attack ever launched on the transport sector. We are here to comply with an electoral promise. The last government never worried about defending the public interest”.

The former PSD-CDS-PP coalition voted against the reversion of transport “sub-concessions”, saying they were needed to “invert the cycle of degradation” into which they have fallen, but the majority “won”, and as PCP MP Bruno Dias explained: “It was worth it”, for the sakes of employees who stood to lose their jobs with incoming cost-cutting.

The issue saw some impassioned speeches in parliament.

Dias turned to the centre-right benches during the debate and said: “You gentlemen cannot ruin anything more. Now it is enough. Enough of violations of the law, of the Constitution, of dismantling public services, of attacks on citizens’ rights, of selling the country piece by piece. We are going to put a full stop once and for all to all these PPP (public-private deals) with transports”.

The PEV Green party’s Heloísa Apolinário said that the last government had “a passion for privatising everything that it both could and couldn’t in Portugal”. Public transports “cannot be based on private interests”, she said. They should operate in the interests of their users and respective workers.

It was one of the first debates of many set to come in the new-look government which nonetheless has to tread extremely carefully if it is not to be “dissolved” by soon-to-be-outgoing President of the Republic Cavaco Silva (see Tough-talking ceremony sees Portugal’s Socialist government sworn in under heavy cloud )
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