President Marcelo
President Marcelo today. Image: António Cotrim/ Lusa

President insists government members should complete 36-point screening questionnaire

To do so “in interests of members, government and country”

President Marcelo has today reiterated that, in his opinion, the 36-point questionnaire – devised by the government to weed out bruised apples in the wake of recent scandals – should also apply to serving ministers, secretaries of State, deputies, and sundry MPs.

The head of State’s insistence on this matter goes in direct conflict with the reading of the prime minister, who has said there is “no need for it

According to the PM, current members of government have already answered the spirit of the questionnaire, through declarations of income and assets.

“If there is any problem, the Constitutional Court, the Public Prosecutor or parliament will take the appropriate measures”, he told journalists yesterday.

But Marcelo disagrees (something that is becoming more common these days as politics plays out in front of the cameras): “There is a matter covered by the questionnaire that is not covered by the declaration of income and assets”, he said today. 

“The declaration of income and assets is one thing, the questionnaire covers other realities: criminal matters, payment of taxes, payment to Social Security, companies with relatives” etc.

As Expresso’s article on this subject suggests: “What starts out crooked, straightens late or never at all. The screening mechanism for candidates to government posts proposed by António Costa to Marcelo, and approved by the Council of Ministers last week, has put the two men in an arm-wrestling match that is here to stay…

PS Socialists’ constant attempts to draw a line over controversy and move forwards appear to be failing.

In the president’s eyes, it is in the interests of serving members of government to answer the questionnaire (which political opponents have denounced as “ridiculous”, “a bit of theatre”, “a useless smokescreen”), as well as in the interests “of the government and the country”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com