Luís Montenegro
Luís Montenegro has promised in the past to be "relentless and intransigent" in weeding out any whiff of corruption within the party vying for political power. Image: José Coelho/ Lusa

PSD leader “seeks to show he deals with cases of hypothetical corruption differently” – analyst

Withdraws confidence in MP cited in Operation Vortex

PSD social democrats have found themselves implicated in two of the many political ‘controversies’ swirling. But, in contrast to PS handling of a number of their cases, the party is acting very differently.

Political analyst Bruno Costa used this interpretation to explain the withdrawal of confidence by the PSD yesterday in MP Pinto Moreira – a former close ally of PSD leader Luís Montenegro, but now embroiled in Operation Vortex, centring on allegations of corruption in Espinho.

Pinto Moreira renounced his parliamentary immunity in order to be questioned over his part in Vortex, and has since been made an official suspect. But this week, he requested to return to parliament, without informing his party – thus Luís Montenegro’s decision to remove the party’s confidence Pinto Moreira – himself a former mayor of Espinho.

Luís Montenegro seeks to show he is different from António Costa when he deals with cases of hypothetical corruption”, Bruno Costa told SIC Notícias.

In the recent past, when PS MPs are cited in hypothetical cases, the reaction of Mr Costa has invariably been to insist on the confidence he has for those MPs.

One of these cases is Tutti Frutti – reportedly involving finance minister Fernando Medina, and Minister for the Environment Duarte Cordeiro. Both MPs have Mr Costa’s total confidence. But in the case of PSD members implicated, Luís Montenegro has stressed he means to investigate. This could be very risky, explains Bruno Costa – as part of the PSD group  believed to be involved here “are or were great supporters of Luís Montenegro”, and are very important in the party’s municipal structure.

The alleged part they played in Tutti Frutti involves perceived ‘deals’ made with the PS during municipal elections in Lisbon, in order to ensure certain parishes stayed within certain parties.

Montenegro has stressed: “We will be uncompromising with respect for the law and political ethics”, adding “(We want) to rule out any possibility of the PSD having chosen candidates on the basis of understanding with other parties. We will be relentless and intransigent”. 

As for the future of Pinto Moreira: this looks extremely complicated as he will be coming back to parliament with “no margin to take part in the decision-making process of the parliamentary group, or to intervene on behalf of the PSD”, says Montenegro – yet for the time being at least, he will be sitting on the PSD benches, and therefore his votes could count for the party.

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