PM to open last state-of-nation debate

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 10-07-2019 09:42:00 · 0 Comments
PM to open last state-of-nation debate

Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, is today (10 July) opening the parliamentary debate on the state of the nation

For nearly four hours in all, the Socialist government, its leftist partners in parliament, and the opposition parties are to discuss the country’s situation, four years after the unprecedented supply-and-confidence agreements signed between the Socialist Party (PS) and the Left Block (BE), Communist Party (PCP) and Greens (PEV).

The legislative elections of 2015 handed victory to the right-of-centre coalition of Social Democratic Party (PSD) and People’s Party (CDS-PP) that had been in power since 2011, but it failed to secure an absolute majority of deputies.

For the first time since Portugal’s 1974 Revolution, the parties on the left reached an agreement among themselves on the formation of a government, in this case a minority one, led by Socialist António Costa, which has lasted ever since.

Wednesday’s plenary session of parliament is to start at 2.30pm, with Costa having up to 40 minutes for his opening speech.

There follow questions from the parties, by order of their number of deputies: PSD, PS, BE, CDS-PP, PCP, PEV and PAN, which has just one. Each parliamentary group is also allowed to make their own speech, in the same order.

The government then closes the debate, with a speech of 10 minutes, usually by a minister, not the prime minister.

Of the party leaders, only the PSD’s, Rui Rio, is not a member of parliament and will not be in the chamber. The others’ speeches are to be made by Catarina Martins, the BE coordinator, Jerónimo de Sousa, secretary-general of the PCP, and Asunción Cristas, president of the CDS-PP.

Last year’s debate on the state of the nation confirmed not only that there were internal problems in the ‘gerIngonça’ or contraption, as the PS’s agreements with the left are called, but also a continuing fracture between left and right.

The debate on the state of the nation was created in 1992, at a time when the PSD had an absolute majority, inspired in part by the tradition in the US Congress. The first took place in 1993.


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