Corruption IS corrosive to the quality of democracy, said President Cavaco Silva this week, and government has a responsibility to the citizens of Portugal to restore faith and trust in the country’s institutions.
He was speaking at a ceremony commemorating 96 years of Portugal being a Republic.
His comments were praised by fellow ministers for highlighting this issue that has plagued the country for years.
Speaking from a balcony at Praça do Município in Lisbon, the president said that corruption was not only an issue for the national government, but on a local scale as well.
He appealed to Fernando Pinto the new Procurator-General, who took office on Monday, October 9, and judicial officials to treat this battle against corruption as a priority.
Following Mr Silva’s speech, many politicians expressed their pride that he had brought this issue to the forefront public discourse and socialist João Cravinho praised the president for appealing to the judicial system to implement tighter controls over corruption cases.
He said he had presented three bills to parliament in the last two months, discussing ways to prevent and combat corruption. A decision will be made by the end of October about whether the bill will be added to the constitution.
The president of the Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, the national judges syndicate, António Martins, described corruption as a “cancer that corrodes the democratic system, State authority and even economic activity”.
Mr Silva said that the government, locally and nationally, had a responsibility to the citizens of Portugal to restore faith and trust in the country’s institutions.
The president was accompanied at last week’s ceremony by Prime Minister, José Sócrates, the president of Lisbon Câmara, Carmona Rodrigues and the president of the Assembly of the Republic, Jaime Gama.