Mário Soares has burst back onto the political scene today reasserting that democracy in Portugal is as dead as the proverbial Dodo, and that the jailing of his friend and former prime minister José Sócrates is an “unacceptable infamy”.
Having already challenged President of Portugal Cavaco Silva to step in and release Sócrates forthwith, the 90-year-old political warrior has now set his sights on the much-lauded “Mourinho of the Justice System”, super-judge Carlos Alexandre, again using his new favourite word “infamy”.
In the book “Mário Soares and the construction of democracy”, officially presented yesterday, Soares is quoted as saying that Alexandre is “a judge who has no sense of justice and his comrades do not take him seriously. He is an embarrassment and an infamy”.
Portuguese newspapers have highlighted Soares’ resounding attack on what he sees as the enemies of his jailed friend, and made much of his assertions that he will “continue to battle in defence of the former PM”.
Taking no prisoners, the two-term ex-president of the republic used the occasion to turn his ire to the government that “simply continues to make political and economic mistakes of all kinds”, and which, he adds, the country should no longer tolerate.
Soares’ cavalcade of insults came on a day in which national tabloid Correio da Manhã carried an exclusive detailing the alleged lengths to which José Sócrates is understood to have gone, over the years, to try and muzzle the press.
“Silencing inconvenient journalists was a priority for a prime minister who came to be indicted himself precisely for attempting to pervert the state of justice,” wrote CM.
In an editorial, the paper went further: “Sócrates needed to kill the free press in order not to die politically. Ensnared by conflicts of various kinds, from BES in Angola … to Altice, Zon and TAP” CM paints a murky picture of a Portugal shrouded by “opaque business dealings” of an impune few.
The paper promises to run a new series over the “coming days” on the behind-scenes intrigues that have reduced Portugal to what they call a “land of refugees, without pride or hope”.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]