Communists to abstain in first budget vote

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 09-01-2020 08:00:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s Communist Party (PCP) announced its intention to abstain in the vote on the first reading of the minority Socialist Party (PS) government’s draft budget for 2020, while saying that the fact that the document envisages a small surplus is not the determining factor in its decision.

João Oliveira, the PCP’s parliamentary leader, said at a news conference in the parliament building that the government was wrong to make a point of having a budget surplus this year, but stressed that this was not a relevant factor for his party.

The draft budget foresees a public sector budget surplus equivalent to 0.2% of gross domestic product in 2020.

According to Oliveira, in future stages of the bill what will be "decisive for the PCP is [whether] the draft budget contains or not responses - to a greater or lesser extent - to the problems facing the country", with the matter of the surplus “a more general criterion” that the government has chosen to prioritise to meet requirements “in relation to which the PCP disagrees" that are laid down by the European Union and euro-zone rules.

“Unlike the government, which sets the question of the budget surplus as the criterion according to which it analyses the entire budget, the PCP puts as an intervention criterion the problems of the country and the response to the problems of workers and the people", Oliveira said.

André Oliveira, the single deputy for the Chega party, announced that he intends to vote against the budget bill on the first reading, while People-Animals-Nature (PAN) said that its four deputies are to abstain.

The Left Bloc, which is the third-largest party in parliament, with 19 seats, has already said that it will not vote in favour of the bill on the first reading, but has not yet determined whether it will vote against or abstain.

The main opposition, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), has said its 79 deputies will vote against the bill

The PCP and its offshoot the Greens together have 12 seats.

The budget vote is expected to take place on Friday afternoon, after two days of debate.

If all parties other than the PS and PSD abstain in the vote, that means the bill will pass. It would then go into the committee stage for possible amendment, before coming back to the plenary for the final vote, scheduled for 6 February.


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