After decreeing the 15th state of emergency, Portugal's President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said that "2021 will have to be the year of the beginning of sustained and fair social reconstruction."
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has warned of worsening poverty and inequality and argued that “2021 will have to be the year of the beginning of sustained and fair social reconstruction”.
In an address to the country, from the Palácio de Belém, in Lisbon, after decreeing the 15th state of emergency in Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa considered that “the lockdown easing creates the feeling of definitive relief,” but that “the path ahead will still be very laborious”.
He said it will still “take work on the pandemic, especially in the areas in the most critical situation”, and “take work on the numbers in the economy.”
“Although we know that there was industry, agriculture, some trade and services that did not stop, as there was the State supporting employment income of many Portuguese,” he said.
However, according to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, “more complicated than the numbers of the economy is the situation of the people”, because if “the economy will take time to reconstruct, society will take much longer.”
The pandemic has left “marks on personal, family and professional life” and has caused a “worsening of poverty, inequality, injustice.”
In this address to the country, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa praised the response of the Portuguese “in the face of great challenges” and appealed to the “legitimate pride” of the Portuguese people with a “history of almost nine centuries.”
In his view, “the Portuguese always respond with courage and solidarity” and in the face of economic and social crisis “they find remarkable ways of survival, of adaptation, of changing their lives.”
He left “a very special word” for the elderly who have experienced “dramatic loneliness” and who now, “vaccinated, can receive visits and go out.”
And he expressed the expectation that this “will be the beginning of the final stage of the most difficult period” of the country’s collective life “since the Spanish flu, in terms of public health – with more deaths than in the Great War or in the African struggles of 60, 50 years ago.”
“It is an occasion for us to remember those who have left, those who care for the suffering and to rebuild everyone’s lives. It is time to think more about the future,” he concluded.
Under the terms of the Constitution, the state of emergency, which allows the suspension of the exercise of some rights, freedoms and guarantees, cannot last for over 15 days, without prejudice to possible renewals with the same time limit.
To decree it, the President of the Republic must hear the government and have authorisation from parliament, which in this renewal, as in the six previous ones, was given with votes in favour by PS, PSD, CDS-PP and PAN and the abstention of BE.
In Portugal, nearly 17,000 people have died from Covid-19 and more than 828,000 cases of infection with the new coronavirus have been counted so far.