Associação Mutualista’s future: Ribeiro Mendes, Alexadre Abrantes or Tomás Correia?

  • ECO News
  • 8 August 2018

Fernando Ribeiro Mendes announced his candidature, a month ago. The other associates in the group are formalizing the candidacy of Tomás Correia for the next round of elections.

Fernando Ribeiro Mendes announced his candidature to become the leader of the Associação Mutualista Montepio Geral (AMMG) a month ago. Nevertheless, he hasn’t gathered much consensus or support among the group, especially given his dissidence from the institution’s administration. The other associates in the group are formalizing the candidacy of Tomás Correia for the next round of elections.

Regarding the elections, our reporters at ECO found out that the next few weeks will be quite decisive for the group, and will certainly show who is more likely to be appointed the next AMMG leader. The current president of the institution, Tomás Correia, will run for AMMG’s leadership once again in December.

The group encompasses many formerly defeated associates that had run for office during the last election, and they are discussing more than one alternative for the new AMMG’s presidency. Former minister Bagão Félix, António Godinho (former candidate) and Eugénio Rosa (PCP party economist) are all defending a new alternative to AMMG’s administration.

Many firmly believe that Fernando Ribeiro Mendes, the former secretary of State for Social Security under António Guterres’ administration, is the member that gathers the most favourable conditions to become the new AMMG leader — earlier this year, Ribeiro Mendes made a public statement that implicated Tomás Correia, which made the administration to identify him as a liability for the group — especially due to his popularity.

Alexandre Abrantes is one of the other big bets for the opposition to the current president. He is currently the president of the Portuguese Red Cross, a professor at Nova University, and he was a consultant for the World Bank. He co-authored the book “Renovar Montepio” together with António Godinho who presented his candidacy to AMMG in 2015.

Notwithstanding, Ribeiro Mendes highly dissident opinion regarding Tomás Correia’s administration approaches, having declared that “urgent changes had to be made in the organization given Correia’s disruptive strategies”, gave the former state secretary an advantage in terms of popularity. 

For the associates that are absolutely unpleased with the outcomes of Correia’s administration and the present state of instability AMMG faces, the only way out is to create a new candidate listing that is sufficiently extensive so that it has more probabilities of actively defeating Tomás Correia and preemptively avoiding internal fractions. In 2015 Correia was elected with 61% of votes.

The application listings for Associação Mutualista’s administration have to be delivered until October 2018, as two months after there will be the final election round which will decide who will design the groups future between 2019-2021.

The 600 thousand associates are quite eager to know who will be the new leader especially given the last regulation updates for mutualists that shall be applied in September this year, right before the electoral race.

According to ECO’s news sources, the new mutualists’ legislation will potentially block the current president to present his application for December’s election. A viable alternative to Correia’s candidacy might be Maria de Belém, former minister for Health.

The new regulations will transform the social economy group, as from September onwards the group will be supervised by the Insurance Activity and Pension Funds Authority, headed by José Almaça. Reputation will be one of the criteria for assuming a public position at the AMMG. In the meantime, the Bank of Portugal and the Public Prosecution Service have opened an investigation about Tomás Correia. 

According to the group’s website, “the Association is a reference in the social sector of the economy, with more than 630 thousand members” and is one of “the largest association of Portugal and one of the biggest in Europe”.