Marcelo says ECB should rethink jumbo hikes in interest rates
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa: Archive image: Horacio Villalobos/ Lusa

President rules out snap elections

Nothing suggests they would change anything for the better

President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has ruled out the scenario of early elections following the political crisis caused by recent government resignations, calling on the Socialist executive to “govern better”.

There cannot be elections every year“, and it is “preferable that the government governs and governs better and better,” Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on his departure from Lisbon to Brazil, where he will attend the inauguration of Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he doubted that a solution resulting from new elections would be more stable than the current absolute majority of the PS, which won the legislative elections on January 30, describing the dissolution of parliament as an “atomic weapon of last resort“.

The scenario of snap elections is being pushed by right-wing parties, CDS-PP and Chega.

On the inauguration of new members of the government to make up for the latest (three) resignations, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he hoped that in early 2023 the “governing solution” proposed by the prime minister would be presented to him “from the 4th”.

“The people voted 8 months ago (…) we are in a war and economic and financial crisis. (…) it is not clear that an obvious and strong immediate alternative to what exists would emerge,” from elections, said the head of State.

Marcelo stressed that the country would need to be assured of “more advantages than inconveniences” from the dissolution of parliament, considering that “experimentalism is not the best thing for democracies”.

“Dissolution is an atomic weapon available to the president. He cannot use the atomic weapon every year for a very simple reason: imagine he uses the atomic weapon, and the Portuguese people confirm the party in government, with an absolute majority or without an absolute majority. Have you seen the position you would leave the president in? He would not use it again next year or the year after”.

Equally, the dissolution of parliament would imply three or four months of “stopping the country (…) Now imagine doing that in a big way” bearing in mind that 2023 could “have international problems with internal reflections that are not good.”

“We had elections not even a year ago, we cannot have elections every year, we cannot, every time there are ministerial reshuffles or team replacements, even if for problems that may be more sensitive for a part of public opinion or public opinion in general, by resorting to dissolution,” Marcelo concluded.

As to the no-confidence motion lodged by the Liberal Initiative (IL), the president said this was not particularly relevant, given the absolute Socialist majority.

“The motion normally works differently depending on whether there is an absolute majority or not. If there is no absolute majority, there is that doubt right to the end as to whether it is approved or not. If there is an absolute majority, it is already known that it will be rejected and is normally used by the government to reinforce its position, but it also serves to allow the opposition or part of the opposition, the various oppositions, to say, in a different way, what they think about the government”, he said.

Source: LUSA