President calls for 2020 with “Strong and Delivering Government” and Health Priority

By Kim Schiffmann, in News · 02-01-2020 14:52:00 · 0 Comments

The New Year's message from the President of the Republic, calling for a “strong and concrete government” and defending the priority to health, was received by the parties with discreet praise and some criticism, to the right.

For the first time from the Azores, and earlier than usual, at lunchtime, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa addressed the Portuguese for the fourth time on television as President and wished in 2020 a year of “hope” with a “Strong, concretizing and dialogical government” and “strong and alternative opposition”.

And as for more concrete policies, given that the country's financial resources are “scarce”, Marcelo made one more request: give priority and focus efforts on solving the problems of “health, safety, cohesion and inclusion”.

Political actors, those in power and those in opposition, set goals to give the Portuguese “hope” in the first year of the new decade, at the beginning of a “new cycle”.

In Portugal, he said, “hope means strong, concrete and dialogical government to respond to the popular will that has chosen to continue the same path, but without an absolute majority”, in a reference to the minority executive of the PS headed by António Costa.

It also means "strong and alternative opposition to the Government."

From the Azores, on the smallest island of the archipelago, 1,890 kilometres from Lisbon, Marcelo praised the Ravenclaws, but also those born in the “Portugais” who “have less” and are “far away”, not only in distance, but also of well-being or success.

"Far away because they live in poverty or at risk of it" or "far away because they were born in 'Portugais' where they have less," he said.

Throughout the afternoon, comments from parties with parliamentary representation followed, except for the PSD.

The first was the Left Block which, through MEP José Gusmão, considered it “very significant” of Marcelo to recall that “it was the Portuguese's choice” the PS had no absolute majority, especially at the time of budget debate.

What, he argued, “naturally calls on the Government and the PS” to seek “understandings and convergences that seek to pursue to which the BE has been warning” and whether the choices for “economic and social development” in the country are “more than a few tenths of a surplus to show Brussels.”

The PCP received Marcelo's words without enthusiasm, admitted that he was in favour of the dialogue with the Government, defended by the President, but left a warning.

"We are open to dialogue, but dialogue is useful as long as it serves something, as long as it serves to pursue progress and not to initiate policies of stagnation or regression," said Rui Fernandes of the Communist Political Commission.

Still on the left, from Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, the president of the PS, Carlos César, stated that the priorities pointed out by the President present "a very important convergence from the point of view of strategic objectives" between Marcelo, the Government "and the Prime Minister himself".

PS and Government "have developed contacts" on the State Budget for 2020 and added that "next Friday" there will be "also other meetings" involving the leftist parties with which the PS "has privileged dialogue" in the previous legislature and the current one.

Parliamentary leader of the People-Animals-Nature (PAN) party, Inês de Sousa Real, pointed to the budget discussion as "proof of strength" of the Government's "capacity for dialogue" with opposition parties.

On the right, CDS-PP MEP Nuno Melo highlighted the President's “generalist” speech, but without “hiding a reality” that penalizes the Portuguese, such as “chaos in health” or the “crisis of authority” on the part of the executive.

Nuno Melo said the CDS has been an “alternative, strong and effective” opposition and will continue to be after the congress of 25 and 26 January, which will choose a successor to Asunción Cristas, the current leader.

Chega's only deputy, André Ventura, hailed the President for making the New Year's message from “one of the most forgotten and abandoned regions”, but considered it a speech without something “concrete or achievable”.

Another single deputy, João Cotrim Figueiredo of the Liberal Initiative, lamented that the New Year's presidential speech was "not a real focus" but "a speech about everything, with effect on nothing."


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