PSD leader Rui Rio used his moment on the podium at the latest convention of MEL – the movement for Europe and Liberty – to ram home the message to the right-wing leader of Chega André Ventura that there will never enter into a pact between the two forces with a view to gaining power.
Indeed, Mr Rio suggested the PSD really isn’t “a party of the right” at all. If it was he wouldn’t have been allowed in, he said.
As such the speech was much more about holding out (yet another) invitation to PS Socialists for political synergies.
In the mindset of the 64-year-old economist, they’re needed for the long-term relaunch of the Portuguese economy.
“If the Social Security system is to be reformed to guarantee its future stability, we’re going to need wide-ranging cross-party agreements”, said Mr Rio.
The same goes for the problems of plummeting birth rates, and questions on how to develop the interior regions.
It was a proactive moment in a convention that heard Chega’s André Ventura saying the way forwards was to “combat the left” by “punching them” not by giving them ‘bonbons’.
The political street-fighter – ordered by a court this week to apologise to a black family for calling them “bandits” – continued to insist that there will be “no possibility of right wing governments (in Portugal) without Chega” in the mix. This may have explained Mr Rio’s political history lesson a little while later – explaining that the PSD’s origins were in fact in centre-left ideology, not centre right.
Bloco de Esquerda and PCP communists are parties of the ‘radical left’, with the PS a party of the ‘moderate left’, said Mr Rio, while CDS-PP, Iniciativa Liberal and Chega are all parties on the right.
Former deputy prime minister Paulo Portas (CDS-PP) had his moment on the stage in which he described politics these days as a form of shouting match over social media “and this prejudices democracy”.
Putting the boot into Chega’s aspirations for influence, Mr Portas added that “right-wing indirectly populist governments do not know how to manage global crises”.
MEL is a movement of independent and politically-affiliated people “united for the construction of a future for Portugal and for the dignifying of politics within Portuguese society”.
A face present throughout the convention was Pedro Passos Coelho, former PSD prime minister of the troika days, who many are predicting is planning a return to the political frontline.