Christian Democrats leader, Assunção Cristas, was interviewed last week by ECO. She talked about her party's goals for the next election run, and about CDS' interaction with other Portuguese parties.
The leader of the Portuguese Christian Democrats (CDS), Assunção Cristas, was interviewed last week by ECO with reporter Helena Garrido to address her plans and goals for the future elections. During an hour and a half, the party leader explained her relationship with PSD (Social Democrats) and the media, discussed the topic of decentralization, and admitted that Santana Lopes’ new party, Aliança1, might come to help create a coalition government consisting of the major centre-right parties in the country, for the next elections.
Here are some of the main questions, and answers, from ECO’s interview to the Party leader:
What would be a good electoral outcome for your party?
That is indeed, a difficult question, as we always want to balance ambition with realism. We know where we stand.
During the last election run, we only reached 12% in votes. In 2015, CDS-PP reached 10%, going from 24 to 18 members of parliament. Our goal is to increase as much as possible the number of MEPs in the centre-right of the Portuguese parliament, and we work hard to reach that target so that Portugal has a real alternative to the left government.
Any number above the 18 MEP’s is good for us, at the moment.
And we guarantee one thing: that a vote in our party is not a vote for the António Costa, prime minister. A vote for CDS is a vote for the centre-right and will benefit the balance of powers in the parliament.
Will this mandate be carried out until the end?
I believe it will.
And the State Budget 2019, do you expect it to be approved smoothly as it has been in the past few years?
I acknowledge the value António Costa has, for his ability to negotiate with the left in this coalition. It certainly is something of value. He proved that a government solution that all considered fragile, was a stable solution in the end. All the noise around the state budget is quite common for this time of the year.
If you ask me about the Communist Party’s position on the State Budget, I can’t assure you they will approve it: there are no certainties here. But it is highly likely that the State Budget will be approved.
The President has noted that if the State Budget isn’t approved, there will be early elections. In that scenario, what would CDS do?
We are ready for early elections, absolutely, if it comes to that. We have worked hard on our election manifesto, and we would have to speed up the process to deliver it sooner, but we are ready for such a scenario.
What about your relationship with the media?
I think it is good, I don’t have any complaints. Perhaps the media could give more attention to certain public policies that are brought up by politicians, instead of focusing so much on the matters of political power struggles and controversies. Public policies perhaps are more meaningful and should reach the people which they will affect on a daily basis – it might be the case that information is delivered like that because the audiences want it delivered that way, I do not know for sure. But we [CDS] don’t have enough visibility on the media because we haven’t reached that level yet. However, we feel like we are more and more visible nowadays.
 Aliança is a new party, founded by the former prime minister (2004/05) and former militant of the Social Democrats (PSD), Pedro Santana Lopes. He declared that this party will be “personalist, liberalist and focus on solidarity”; Aliança will be pro-European and it will not follow any “cartel” of interests, and it wishes to contest the macroeconomic norms imposed by Brussels. On a national level, the party proposes to fight against desertification in Portugal and will work for a significant reduction of the tax burden.