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Author Topic: Portugal's politics and elections  (Read 107851 times)
Mike88
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« Reply #600 on: December 06, 2017, 10:21:54 am »

PSD threatens to vote against the PS's bill on the European common defense mechanism:

After the PSD advised the PS not to put, in the bill, the prospect of a common European army, which was rebuked by the Socialists, the Social Democrats are threatening to vote against the PS's bill on the European common defense mechanism. The bill proposed by the PS says that Portugal is in favour of an European army, and also in favour of the specialization of the various branches of the national Armed Forces. The PSD opposes these 2 points and, if they are not scrapped, the party will vote in line with CDU and BE, who are also against the bill.

Nonetheless, if the bill fails in Parliament, that doesn't mean that Portugal will be out of the European common defense mechanism, or PESCO, since that decision is, ultimately, the responsibility of the Government.

Update: The PS has backtracked its position and has accepted the demands of the PSD. The European common defense mechanism bill will now have the support of the PS, PSD and CDS, while CDU and BE will vote against.
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Mike88
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« Reply #601 on: December 07, 2017, 07:45:20 pm »

Update on the PSD leadership race:

As the deadline to be registered to vote, December 15th, is approaching, many members are rushing to pay their fees to be registered.

A few weeks ago, newspapers reported that of the 215,883 members the PSD had, only 27,000 were registered to vote by that time. Adding to this, 120,000 members are labeled as active, because they paid something in the last 2 years, but 87,000 are suspended for not paying their fees in more than two years. Nonetheless, members who are suspended can also be registered to vote if the notify the party and pay the sum they didn't paid.

In the last few days, the number of members registering to vote may have shot up, and Expresso newspaper is reporting, in their front page, that in many sections of the PSD, there are "miracles of multiplication" happening. The newspaper points out the case of Lousada section (Porto District), where in a few couple of days, the number of registered members, entitled to vote, went from 60... to 670!!, a huge increase, and it can still rise.
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Mike88
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« Reply #602 on: December 09, 2017, 08:55:24 am »

Aximage poll from December:

39.9% PS (+0.8 )
26.1% PSD (+0.6)
  9.3% BE (+0.6)
  7.5% CDU (-1.1)
  6.5% CDS (-0.2)
  7.7% Others/Invalid (-0.7)
  3.0% Undecided (n.c.)

Poll conducted between 1 and 4 December. Polled 603 voters. MoE of 4.00%
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Mike88
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« Reply #603 on: December 11, 2017, 01:26:59 pm »

Aximage poll on the PSD leadership election:

PSD voters:

70.5% Rui Rio
26.8% Santana Lopes
  1.8% Neither
  0.9% No opinion

All voters:

71.9% Rui Rio
21.8% Santana Lopes
  6.3% Neither/No opinion

Poll conducted between 1 and 4 December. Polled 603 voters. MoE of 4.00%
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 01:35:26 pm by Mike88 »Logged
Mike88
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« Reply #604 on: December 12, 2017, 11:13:07 am »

Scandal involving misappropriation of public money in a charity institution, has created an embarrassment for the government:

Last Saturday, TVI reported that the President of "Raríssimas", a charity funded by the state and by donations that treats children with rare diseases, Paula Brito e Costa, diverted funds from the state to pay for luxury items, like cars, dresses and even shrimps, worth 230 euros. This created a huge scandal, and TVI also uncovered that some current office holders in Costa's government were involved in this charity. First, it was reported that the secretary of Health, Manuel Delgado, was a consultant in the charity and received 63,000 euros for his services. And then, it was reported that the minister of Labour and Social Security, Vieira da Silva, was the vice-president of the Charity's Assembly between 2013 and 2015.


Paula Brito e Costa, president of Raríssimas

Apparently, Social Security, and the minister, were warned about the bad management of public funds from this charity, but did almost nothing. There are also more politicians, from the PS to the PSD, involved, like a PSD MP who was to be sworn in as vice president of the charity, but, now, has refused any office in this charity after the scandal broke.

There are already political consequences: the Health secretary, Manuel Delgado, has tendered his resignation, and Paula Brito e Costa, President of the charity in question, has also resigned. The position of the minister of Labour and Social Security isn't very good either, although it's not expected his resignation.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 11:23:54 am by Mike88 »Logged
warandwar
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« Reply #605 on: December 12, 2017, 11:25:15 am »

Are shrimp especially expensive in Portugal? They're pretty cheap over here.
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Mike88
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« Reply #606 on: December 12, 2017, 11:31:37 am »

Are shrimp especially expensive in Portugal? They're pretty cheap over here.
No, shrimps normally cost around 8 euros (9 dollars). Then you have more expensive shrimps like Asian tiger shrimp, that costs around 50 euros (59 dollars). It appears is that the she bought an enormous amount of shrimps, using money from the charity.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 11:34:37 am by Mike88 »Logged
Mike88
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« Reply #607 on: December 13, 2017, 05:55:02 pm »

The "Raríssimas" scandal is continuing to dominate the headlines, and it's getting bigger and bigger:

After the resignation of the secretary of Health, TVI reported that he and the President of Raríssimas, Paula Brito e Costa, had an affair and that photos from a trip to Brazil show a clear proximity between both, like walking together on a beach in Rio. The trip seems to have been paid by the charity.

Also, the minister of Social Security, Vieira da Silva, is becoming more pressured to explain his role in the charity's finances. And, it has been revealed that the minister went to Sweden to visit a charity with Ms. Paula Brito e Costa, when he was already, allegedly, aware of the financial malpractices in Raríssimas. The ministry of Social Security says that it wasn't they who invited Ms. Paula Brito e Costa, but, in Sweden, the minister negotiated an agreement between the Swedish Charity and Raríssimas.

At the same time, the wife of the minister of Social Security, PS MP Sónia Fertuzinhos, is also under suspicion because of a trip she made, with a representative from Raríssimas, also to Sweden. She justified the trip as parliamentary work, but, Sábado magazine is reporting that Ms. Fertuzinhos never made a single statement about anything from charities to rare diseases in Parliament.

The PM, António Costa, has yet to make a statement about the role of some members of his team in this scandal.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 06:00:44 pm by Mike88 »Logged
Mike88
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« Reply #608 on: December 14, 2017, 12:02:11 pm »

The PM has finally made a statement about the "Raríssimas" scandal:

António Costa said, in Brussels, that he has alsolute trust in the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Vieira da Silva. Arriving at the European Council, Costa also acknowledge the competence and experience that the minister has, adding also that his role in the charity doesn't stain his qualities.

The minister will he heard in Parliament at the request of the PS, and the PSD, on Monday.
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Mike88
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« Reply #609 on: December 15, 2017, 11:48:34 am »

December poll from Eurosondagem:



Popularity ratings:


Poll conducted between 6 and 12 December. Polled 1,017 voters. MoE of 3.07%
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Mike88
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« Reply #610 on: December 15, 2017, 05:47:48 pm »

Only 50,000 members of the PSD are registered to vote. Lower than the 78,000 in 2010:

The numbers are still an estimation, but unofficial numbers say that only 50,000 members of the PSD are registered to vote in the January 13th leadership elections. In 2010, the number of members able to vote was 78,094.

Nonetheless, there seems to be more members voting in the north, like in Aveiro, Porto and Vila Real, than in the South. This may be good news for Rui Rio.

The party will announce the final registration numbers probably next week.
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« Reply #611 on: December 15, 2017, 06:11:42 pm »

How do you explain that with scandal after scandal you are reporting to us, nothing seems to be staining the PS polling figures ? Seems amazing.
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Mike88
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« Reply #612 on: December 15, 2017, 06:27:10 pm »

How do you explain that with scandal after scandal you are reporting to us, nothing seems to be staining the PS polling figures ? Seems amazing.
First, the PSD is in transition mode, so they are not making any opposition to the government. Second, the good economy is helping Costa to drive away attentions from the drop in public services quality, and other stuff. And third, António Costa has been amazing in creating a separation between him and the rest of his government. Voters are voting PS because of Costa himself, because his government, or his team, have a negative approval rating, like the Eurosondagem poll shows. Everytime there is a minister or secretary involved in somekind of scandal, Costa becomes silent and gives a step back to not be also hit. That's what he did when his finance secretaries resigned, when the Interior minister resigned, and now he's also very quiet about the Social Security minister situation, just said he supports him and that there's nothing there, period.

Many pundits label Costa's government as a "one man show", because he's the only one who can control his ministers, but at the same time, he's not someone who would give one for the team.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 06:37:31 pm by Mike88 »Logged
Mike88
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« Reply #613 on: December 17, 2017, 06:44:45 pm »

Santana Lopes presents him electoral program:


Santana Lopes presenting his manifesto.

Pedro Santana Lopes, candidate for the PSD leadership, presented today his electoral manifesto, or program. In a ceremony with a lot of pomp and circumstance, Santana presented 220 ideas, from economic to social issues, in a round table along side many of his supporters like Teresa Morais or the mayor of the PSD bastion of Viseu, Almeida Henriques.

Some policies from Santana Lopes' manifesto:

- Consensus, with the Socialists, on Social Security, fiscal policies and constitutional changes;

- No to the legalization of Euthanasia, but open to a referendum about it;

- Changes in the electoral system: Introduction of FPTP, with also a national constituency to obtain proportionality;

- Introduction of private funding to parties and candidates, alongside public funding;

- Reduction of corporate taxes (IRC);

- More fiscal policies to draw more foreign companies and investment to Portugal;

Rui Rio will, probably, present his manifesto in the next few weeks, maybe in early January. But, taking in to account his interviews and public speeches, the differences between him and Santana may be minor.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 07:09:58 pm by Mike88 »Logged
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« Reply #614 on: December 17, 2017, 08:08:01 pm »

- Changes in the electoral system: Introduction of FPTP, with also a national constituency to obtain proportionality;

MMP?
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Mike88
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« Reply #615 on: December 17, 2017, 08:15:06 pm »

- Changes in the electoral system: Introduction of FPTP, with also a national constituency to obtain proportionality;

MMP?
Pretty much, yeah. The national constituency, however, would use the D'Hondt method to elect MPs, i suppose.
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Mike88
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« Reply #616 on: December 18, 2017, 02:38:57 pm »

Liberal Initiative (Iniciativa Liberal) is officially a party:


Liberal Initiative (IL) logo.

The Liberal Initiative has become the 22nd registered party in Portugal. The Constitutional Court has accepted their signatures and has approved their party structure. The party has a classical liberal and centrist ideology, that is similar to C's in Spain or LREM in France. The party is already a member of ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party)

The party will contest the 2019 EU and General elections, and they're aiming to win 3 or 4 seats in the general elections. But the odds are quite hard for them. Since 1999, only two new parties, BE and PAN, have elected MPs. All of the others have failed that goal.
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Mike88
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« Reply #617 on: December 19, 2017, 11:55:50 am »

Constitutional Court strucks down civilian protection rate in Lisbon. City Hall is obligated to give back 58 million euros to taxpayers.

The controversial Civilian Protection Rate in Lisbon, a rate aimed to pay for public safety services in Lisbon, was struck down by the Constitutional Court . The Court ruled that the rate is illegal because it has labeled it as a real tax, without any "concrete or specific benefit to qualify it as a rate." A similar rate was also considered illegal in Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto district).


Lisbon city.

The rate was created in 2015 to replace the sewer maintenance rate, and it was paid by property owners. This rate is controversial because many, from opposition parties to local associations, say that this rate is paying construction works across the city of Lisbon, and not civil protection services.

The mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina (PS) has already said he will respect the court decision, but will ask Parliament and the Government how Civilian safety protection services should be paid.
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« Reply #618 on: December 19, 2017, 04:32:52 pm »

Liberal Initiative (Iniciativa Liberal) is officially a party:


Liberal Initiative (IL) logo.

The Liberal Initiative has become the 22nd registered party in Portugal. The Constitutional Court has accepted their signatures and has approved their party structure. The party has a classical liberal and centrist ideology, that is similar to C's in Spain or LREM in France. The party is already a member of ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party)

The party will contest the 2019 EU and General elections, and they're aiming to win 3 or 4 seats in the general elections. But the odds are quite hard for them. Since 1999, only two new parties, BE and PAN, have elected MPs. All of the others have failed that goal.

Isn't there a decent faction of PSD with similar views?
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Mike88
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« Reply #619 on: December 19, 2017, 05:33:25 pm »

Liberal Initiative (Iniciativa Liberal) is officially a party:


Liberal Initiative (IL) logo.

The Liberal Initiative has become the 22nd registered party in Portugal. The Constitutional Court has accepted their signatures and has approved their party structure. The party has a classical liberal and centrist ideology, that is similar to C's in Spain or LREM in France. The party is already a member of ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party)

The party will contest the 2019 EU and General elections, and they're aiming to win 3 or 4 seats in the general elections. But the odds are quite hard for them. Since 1999, only two new parties, BE and PAN, have elected MPs. All of the others have failed that goal.

Isn't there a decent faction of PSD with similar views?
Yes, the liberal faction of the PSD, where Passos Coelho is from. The next PSD leader, either Rio or Santana, however, are not from this faction.
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Mike88
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« Reply #620 on: December 20, 2017, 03:40:31 pm »

70,385 members of the PSD are registered to vote in the January 13th elections:

It was expected that only 50,000 members were registered, but the party announced, today, that a total of 70,385 members are registered to vote in the January 13th leadership elections. Of the 122,886 active members of the PSD, this means that 57.3% can cast a ballot.

Porto District has the highest number of registered members, 13,132, while Beja has the lowest, 358.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 03:42:30 pm by Mike88 »Logged
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« Reply #621 on: December 26, 2017, 06:10:16 pm »

New political party financing law is creating some controversy:

Parliament approved, last Thursday, a new party financing law. The new law ends the limit for donations to political parties, the former limit was 600.000 euros, plus political parties will be exempt from paying many taxes, like corporate taxes, property taxes and VAT.


The new law favours, especially, the two main parties, PS and PSD.

The new law was approved by PS, PSD, PCP, BE and PEV. CDS and PAN voted against. But the changes are creating some backlash from the media. Pundits suggest that the changes in the law will damage the transparency of donations and finances of the parties. The main criticism is that parties could use this new law to earn money, without any limits, from companies or other entities, in a way to fund political campaigns.

The law is already in the hands of the President of the Republic, and he's analysing the law and will give a verdict in the next few days.
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« Reply #622 on: December 27, 2017, 09:19:08 pm »

The new party financing law has already turned into a scandal:

After the bad reception this new law had in the media, it got worse today. Newspapers started reporting that the new law was negotiated entirely in secret. Codes were given to parties, in a way to hide the names of the parties who presented the new legislation, meetings were conducted behind closed doors, and the names of the MPs involved in the meetings are unknown. And the parliamentary discussion before the vote, lasted less than 30 minutes, plus MPs from all parties, except CDS and PAN, congratulated themselves for the "big consensus" around this new bill.


Main chamber of the Portuguese Parliament.

Parties, and party leaders, are reacting in different ways: BE made a fool of themselves saying they only voted in favour of the bill in a way to supervise the other parties. PS, PSD, PCP and PEV had a different approach. The 4 parties released a joint statement saying that the new bill will not increase public spending and that all is in agreement with the roadmap of suggestions presented by the Constitutional Court. CDS wants Marcelo to veto the new financing law.

At the same time, António Costa refused to send the bill to the Constitutional Court, after the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, hinted that the PM should do that. Nonetheless, everything points that Marcelo will veto the bill. Adding to this, the two candidates for the PSD leadership, Santana Lopes and Rui Rio, are against the bill and against the position of the PSD. Santana didn't understand the bill and wants a meeting with Pedro Passos Coelho, while Rui Rio is shocked that parties will be exempt from VAT and other taxes.
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« Reply #623 on: December 28, 2017, 09:50:10 am »

Introducing MMP would ensure majorities for either PSD or PS and therefore end the dependence of governments on the smaller parties CDU, BE (PS govts) and CDS/PP (PSD govts), which would of course be beneficial for PSD.

I thought you would find this interesting, Mike: Dutch highbrow newspaper NRC Handelsblad had a highly positive article about Portugal as the "Luxembourg of Southern Europe": economically and diplomatically highly successful, good at sports and the winner of Eurovision, a haven of pro-Europeanism free of populism, with a positive atmosphere in the country and labor emigrants returning to the country. See here, perhaps you can run it through Google Translate if you're interested. Of course there are quite a number of caveats, but I don't think the big picture painted in the article is wrong and I liked reading it Smiley
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Mike88
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« Reply #624 on: December 28, 2017, 10:52:21 am »

Electoral reform is something that pops every once in a while, but everybody knows that it's all talk and no action. PS and PSD dream of having big majorities, but they don't want to upset the smaller parties, because they can be usefull.

I've read the article, David. Yes, the overall picture is quite good. The economy is good, confidence is booming and winning the Euro'16, plus the Eurovision, reinforced that confidence. No one was expecting Portugal to win the Euro'16, and we even joke here that there is a generation of Portuguese who saw Portugal win the unwinnable European Championship, but never saw Sporting CP win the league in Portugal.  Wink

But, going back to the economy. Tourism and urban rehabilitation have been a huge boost to the economy, have created a lot of new businesses and a lot of new jobs, particularly for young people, although with very low wages, and has helped the government in cutting the budget deficit. But the article has, like you said, some caveats that should not be overlooked. The wildfires, the succession of scandals or gaffes from the government, the drop in public services quality or the approval of laws in parliament that makes the electorate disappointed, are the other side. And even the return of labor emigrants is still very small. For example, in 2016, some have returned but 97,000 people left the country. It's expected that the number drops a bit in 2017 but there are still much more people leaving the country than entering in. Nurses and Doctors are the most likely to leave the country, and we already see problems in the NHS.

The current moment is very good, it's something we haven't experienced since the 80's and 90's when we were the Celtic lion of the South, but the problems, that have stopped our momentum in the past, are still haunting us.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 08:29:32 pm by Mike88 »Logged
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