MPs locked in the second round of “PM question time” as the State Budget’s general proposals were under discussion hit a sticky patch when it came to investments in Civil Protection and the nation’s forests.
According to Lusa, António Costa was forced to cut interventions short after Opposition members tried to link government cuts in expenditure to the tragedies that recently took the lives of over 100 people in blazing infernos in the country’s north and centre.
Calling the suggestions “political games”, Costa said he was well aware that the “right wants to blame me for everything I did 12 years ago, but I would like them to explain what happened over these last 12 years”.
A bit like like the television documentary that alluded to Costa’s decisions during previous Socialist governments (click here), the PSD bench represented by its vice-president Carlos Abreu Amorim did indeed try to link Costa’s ministerial orders to the terrible catastrophes that visited the country last summer.
He was described as “the father, mother and face of SIRESP (the State’s emergency communications network) – a system that failed at decisive moments”, a key player in the multi-million purchase of lumbering Russian Kamov helicopters, and the man who “did away with forest guards” while promoting party sympathizers to the Civil Protection authority.
The diatribe threatened to get a lot worse which was why Costa stepped in with what Lusa describes as a “block” on the “tense debate”.
Tension has persisted, however, as the budget’s ‘generality’ is tossed this way and that across the parliamentary benches, expecting a final vote later this afternoon.
Once voted on ‘in general’, specific parts of the budget will then be discussed throughout the month.
Government plans for education, for example, come up on Wednesday November 15, when teachers’ union Fenprof has called a national strike (click here).
For now, the media has pedalled back on the thorny issue of Brussels’ “concern” that the budget doesn’t actually ‘add up’ (click here).