Delegation travelling with parliamentary leader Augusto Santos Silva
President of the assembly of the Republic Augusto Santos Silva is on an official visit to Ukraine in the company of various MPs, but not those from CHEGA, PCP communists, PAN or Livre.
PCP communists have found it extremely difficult to accept the western line since Russia launched its full scale invasion in February 2022, while CHEGA has been excluded by Santos Silva from accompanying any parliamentary delegations overseas due to the protest MPs mounted last week against Brazilian president Lula da Silva during the commemorations of Portugal’s April 25 Liberty Day.
CHEGA has delivered a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, on the basis that Santos Silva’s ‘ban’ is an abuse of power.
CHEGA’s understanding is that protests are allowed in a free country, while banning elected representatives of the people is not.
“The decisions he made, with immediate effect, represent an intolerable discrimination in the plurality which should represent parliament”, said CHEGA’s leader André Ventura in a videoclip message.
Indeed, Ventura sees Santos Silva’s behaviour as “criminal”; something that should not be tolerated within any of the country’s institutions. Ventura is hoping for a word on this score from President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – but here again, a minority party is talking about the breaking down of customary ‘order’ in Portugal’s institutions.
CHEGA’s official complaint also follows another ‘dismal’ episode in which Mr Santos Silva was ‘caught on camera’ apparently saying disparaging words about Iniciativa Liberal. He has since denied the words, saying they were misrepresented – and has opened an inquiry into how the footage was leaked to the press. But all these issues have conspired to slightly obscure the relevance of this two-day parliamentary trip to Ukraine.
Says Lusa, the visit comes in the context of an invitation from Ukraine’s parliamentary leader Ruslan Stefanchuk – chair of the Supreme Council of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada.
The programme will include “institutional meetings at the highest level, notably with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, the speaker of parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, and the Prime Minister, Denys Shmygal.”
“A meeting is also planned with students of Portuguese at the Department of Philology at Kiev University,” according to a note from Santos Silva’s office.
The speaker is accompanied on the trip by Eurico Brilhante Dias, from the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group, Jorge Paulo de Oliveira, from the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Group, João Cotrim de Figueiredo, from the Liberal Initiative Parliamentary Group, and Isabel Pires, from the Left Bloc Parliamentary Group.
According to Lusa’s text, the exclusion of CHEGA and PCP is more down to Mr Santos Silva wanting to keep delegation numbers down to four representatives (nothwithstanding that parliament is made up of eight political parties, albeit two PAN and Livre, each have only one sitting MP).