"In this context, given the framework of commitments and signals given [by the government], the PCP will vote against this budget," the Communist leader announced in a news conference.
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) intends to vote against the minority Socialist government’s draft State Budget for 2022 in this week’s first reading, the party’s secretary-general, Jerónimo de Sousa, announced on Monday, arguing that the country “does not need just any budget” but one that responds to the country’s urgent problems. With this decision, Portugal may go to general elections.
“In this context, given the framework of commitments and signals given [by the government], the PCP will vote against this budget,” the Communist leader announced in a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Lisbon.
“Portugal does not need just any Budget, it needs an answer to the existing problems that are getting bigger as they are not tackled,” he said.
For this reason, he explained, the party will vote against the bill, since the government had refused to respond to the party’s calls to tackle the issues in question, despite there being “the means and conditions to respond to them.”
On a potential turnaround that would lead the PCP to change its vote, Jerónimo de Sousa said that, given the long negotiations that have already taken place, a “magic trick” would be necessary. “There were long hours of discussion, namely on Saturday, but the government did not want to accompany us”, he noted, after the central committee meeting that decided to vote against, stating that “the effort on our part did not find echoes on the part of the government”. No further negotiations are planned.
With Left Bloc (BE) having already said that its members of parliament will oppose the bill in Wednesday’s vote, as things stand the budget would be rejected, since the centre-right and right parties have all said they will vote against it.
Even with the abstention of the three PAN MPs and the two independent MPs Joacine Katar Moreira and Cristina Rodrigues, the government’s proposal for the State Budget 2022 will not pass the general vote on Wednesday, as the votes against will outnumber the votes in favour. This will be the first time since 1979, that a Budget will be rejected by Portugal’s parliament.
Regarding a possible scenario of early elections, the PCP leader turned to the President of Portugal and the government. “The PCP is prepared to solve the country’s problems. Discussing whether or not there are elections, whether or not there is a crisis situation, I believe it’s fundamentally aimed at hiding what is real and needs an answer”, considered Jerónimo de Sousa, assuring that he “is ready” for elections. The Communist leader clarified that “if there are elections by decision of the President of Portugal, we did not fight for elections, we tried to solve the problems and in this sense, it is good that the Portuguese people have the right to exercise their right to vote”.
(article last updated at 1h15 pm)