President Marcelo accused of being “greatest destabiliser of democracy” by ‘opponent’ Ana Gomes

Former MEP Ana Gomes – perhaps the most ‘inconvenient presidential candidate Portugal has seen for a very long time – has been ‘letting rip’ in interviews this week, accusing the ‘icon’ that many see as the best president the country could have of actually being “dangerous”.

As critics have said about the current presidential ‘race’, the ‘other candidates’ are essentially using their moment in the spotlight to ‘transmit messages’: there appears to be no doubt that President Marcelo will win – and by a healthy margin. But in the spirit of transmitting messages, Ana Gomes has a ready salvo.

Talking to Rádio Observador (part of Observador online), she dubbed President Marcelo “the greatest destabiliser of democracy in Portugal at this time”, for two specific reasons:

One, Marcelo has accepted former Portuguese prime minister Francisco Sá Carneiro was murdered (in a plane crash 40 years ago) but none nothing about it; and two, he gave his blessing to the centre-right government of the Azores backed by a right-wing party which Ms Gomes believes should have been declared illegal by the Constitutional Court.

In the career Socialist’s perspective, President Marcelo went along with the agreement in the Azores to “condition” a post-Costa (meaning post António Costa) era, and even power a change in the overall PSD leadership. And that is “dangerous”.

In other words, “what could come in Portugal seems quite dangerous (to Ms Gomes) if Marcelo continues to be President of the Republic”.

It’s explosive copy, even more remarkable as it came from Observador’s questions on whether or not Ms Gomes had committed ‘an illegality’ by getting her flu vaccine this year from a friend in France (due to the ongoing shortages of flu vaccine in Portugal this year…)

The dexterity in being able to turn a question on a flu shot into an issue of democracy is testament perhaps to Ms Gomes many years in the political arena.

The rest of the interview seemed to concentrate on the candidate’s plentiful tweets and whether she should be writing them to the extent that she does – often quite obliquely.

Why was the death of Isabel dos Santos’ husband Sindika Dokolo ‘strange’, for example – as she tweeted at the time (click here)?

The answer, said Ms Gomes, is that beyond the whole Luanda Leaks financial ‘scandal’, Dokolo had many enemies. “It was a disappearance that suited many people”, she said – much to the exasperation of her interviewers who asked “if you are elected will you continue to make tweets of this kind?”

They also quizzed her on her remarks made in Lamego recently referring to the Novo Banco/ BES controversy: “There is money, it’s going into the pockets of criminal schemes and the State could not be more conniving and the organiser of these schemes, as in the end is the case”.

Is the Portuguese State really the organiser of criminal schemes, asked the interviewers.

Ms Gomes gave her reasons for believing so, particularly in terms of BES/ Novo Banco and BES Angola, or BESA, concluding with the observation that in terms of assets of the latter “around €3 billion disappeared into thin air and the Portuguese State hasn’t lifted a finger to recover them”.

For anyone who can read Portuguese, the interview is an example of how a presidential race can be used for completely different purposes (click here).

Ms Gomes contention, for example, that so many ‘mega-investigations’ are put together in a “deliberate strategy to mix everything up so that justice can never be done in due time”.

Did she really mean that? “It’s true”, came the answer.

Surely the fact that the head man at BPN was condemned to 15 years jail; that the president of BPP was condemned to almost six years in jail; that BES boss Ricardo Salgado has been accused by the Public Ministry, proves that the justice system in Portugal “can act against the most powerful people in the country”, the interviewers insisted – almost giving Ana Gomes the answers on a plate: the head of BPN died in his own bed – spared from serving his sentence due to ill health; the president of BPP is still free years after condemnation on the basis that he is going through the appeals system, and Ricardo Salgado continues living in his luxury home… with no trial date in sight six years after the bank he ran imploded due to fraudulent schemes leaving thousands of people in dire financial straits.

“Is this justice”, she queried. “It’s the denial of justice”.

Ms Gomes ended what was undoubtedly a grilling – very possibly designed to let her to drop as many political bombshells as possible – saying she hoped she would be successful in her bid to be Portugal’s next Head of State.

It may have been the only insincere comment in the whole 54 minute interview.

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