Luís Montenegro talking to journalists this evening. Image: MIGUEL A. LOPES/LUSA
Luís Montenegro talking to journalists this evening. Image: MIGUEL A. LOPES/LUSA

PSD leader blasts government’s “political cronyism”

Accuses PS Socialists of plunging Portugal’s democracy into “3rd swamp in 22 years”

Luís Montenegro, leader of Portugal’s PSD social democrats – the strongest party in opposition – has accused PS Socialists of “schemes of political cronyism”, and “for the third time in 22 years” bringing “a swamp to Portuguese democracy”. 

Speaking this evening in reaction to the prime minister’s resignation, Luís Montenegro said the “legitimacy of the PS has collapsed within itself”.

“Justice is working, but the issue I’m focusing on is a political one, there’s a prime minister who resigned and a government that fell, which had the conditions to govern and failed due to sheer incompetence.

“This is the third time in 22 years that the same people, the same policies and the same pattern of government have brought a swamp to Portuguese democracy,” he went on.

Another advocate for early elections, the candidate for Portugal’s next prime minister described what he called the PS party’s “hegemonic greed for power“, suggesting there is an alternative to systemic Socialist recidivism.

“The Portuguese people know that there is a serious and ambitious alternative and they know our sense of responsibility, our firmness and our commitment to truth, ethics and urbanity,” he said.

“Portugal cannot tolerate or admit that important investment or public funding decisions can be made with any other criteria than exclusively the public interest.

“Whether it’s the energy or environmental transition, the school system, public-private partnerships, national defence or major infrastructures, the country cannot be led to decide on the basis of private interests, often wrapped up and disguised with sophisticated technical support schemes”.

“Manipulation, like lies, always has an expiry date.

“We have never been in a hurry (for elections) but now the degradation of the government is such that no more time should be wasted. The people have to have their say”, he insisted.

Mr Montenegro’s speech was largely ‘lost’ as it went out during the evening news. According to SIC, he believes his party could win “an absolute majority” which, all things considered, appears to have been the PS Socialists’ downfall. ND