On the left and on the right, presidential candidates converged in criticism of the proximity between the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, with Tiago Mayan Gonçalves commenting that “it is not known where one ends and the other begins”.
The relationship between the current head of state and re-candidate for the post, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the prime minister, the socialist António Costa, was the target of harsh criticism during the debate between the seven candidates for Belém, which took place on Tuesday night at Pátio da Galé, in Lisbon.
Tiago Mayan Gonçalves, the candidate supported by the Liberal Initiative, even said that the differences between the functions of President and Prime Minister have been diluted in the last five years.
“Between Marcelo and Costa it is no longer known where one ends and where the other begins. Honestly, that is my point of view. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, due to a personal option of seeking popularity, decided to be at the side of this Government, precisely to reap the laurels of that popularity “, defended the liberal.
Vitorino Silva went to look for the well-known episode of Autoeuropa to express “the certainty” that, if he were head of state, “he would not give confidence” to António Costa to suggest the re-election of the President.
“In my mind, no one speaks and I think Costa, at the time, had no power to speak for Marcelo, and the point is that he was a little choked up,” continued the candidate who classified the relationship between President and Head of Government as “a partnership “where” sometimes “it was not known” who had the majority share “.
“Partnership” was also the word used by Marisa Matias to describe a relationship that created “blocks” for the country’s development.
“Our country needs someone in the Presidency to help break these blocks and truly defend the solution to structural problems”, defended the candidate for blockade.
André Ventura, supported by Chega – the party of which he is president and sole deputy in parliament – glued this relationship to an eventual need for Marcelo to collect the vote of socialist voters. “He is the candidate of the PS. He is the candidate of the Socialist Government”, considered Ventura, pointing out that Marcelo “will never have the courage to face” António Costa.
Marcelo virtually participated in the debate on the recommendation of the health authorities after a positive result to the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
João Ferreira focused on the affections that characterized the presidential posture in the last five years to say that “they are just like the national wealth”, and “they are very badly distributed”.
Ana Gomes considered that it is up to the President of the Republic to “be the guarantor of stability” in the country and not “the guarantor of stability in the central block of interests that has been so harmful”. “He is not the King of Spain, he has to take care of Portugal and the Portuguese. He has to make a difference,” said the former socialist MEP.
The candidate, supported by PAN and Livre, has no doubt that if Marcelo is re-elected he will abandon this stance with António Costa: “His second term would be very different, he would work to bring his right and the neoliberal right back. ”
After the rain of criticism from the six opponents, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he understood “why that happened”.
“Because somehow, both wanted a President more aligned to the right, or more aligned to the left. Now the role of the President is to be a factor of integration, of unity. Stability is linked to commitment”, stressed the current chief of State, guaranteeing that it fulfilled the commitments to which it was proposed when it presented the first candidacy.
For Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Portuguese realized, contrary to what their opponents pointed out, “that the President does not create crisis where there is already a crisis, he does not create voids where there are no alternatives”. “It is evident that whoever seeks stability and commitment is inevitably criticized on the one hand and on the other,” he said.
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