Chega’s motion of censure in Portugal manages to unite the entire left and divide the right

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The second motion of censure presented by the extreme right in Portugal against the socialist government of António Costa ended in a defeat like the first. The minority groups on the left aligned themselves this Tuesday with the socialist party, which has an absolute majority, to overthrow the initiative of Chega, the party led by André Ventura and which is the third parliamentary force. The extreme right only managed to attract the support of the Liberal Initiative, a formation that has broadened its base in a few years to become the fourth parliamentary group with an ultra-liberal economic discourse. The motion received 118 votes against, 17 in favor and 62 abstentions.

João Cotrim de Figueiredo, Liberal Initiative deputy, considered Chega’s proposal to get “a few more minutes of television” “a little childish,” but justified his party’s favorable vote by the desire to have “a new Government.”

In his speech, Ventura assured that Portugal has “the worst Government and the worst Prime Minister in its history” and justified the presentation of his second motion in 14 months due to the succession of crises and controversial episodes. The Chega leader recalled the scandals related to the TAP airline investigation commission, the numerous dismissals or resignations of members of the Government and the deficiencies that accumulate in housing, health and education. “I know retiree associations that play cards and have more consistency than this Government,” he said.

He dedicated part of his speech to reproaching the Social Democratic Party (PSD, centre-right), the main opposition force, for not supporting his motion. The plenary session once again showed the efforts of the PSD to distance itself from the extreme right in the middle of the electoral situation, when both forces are fighting for votes in the regional elections of Madeira, and Chega’s attempts to get closer. Ventura accused them of being “accomplices” of the Government and even quoted words from the great moral reference of the center-right, Francisco Sá Carneiro, the prime minister who died in a plane accident in 1980, to make his reproaches.

The spokesperson for the PSD, Joaquín Miranda Sarmiento, attacked the deficiencies in health and education of the Government, which he challenged to lower the income tax, and dismissed Chega with the same phrase that the leader of the formation used this week , Luis Montenegro. “The PSD is not the party of motions, but of solutions,” he said.

Both the PS and the remaining leftist formations accused Chega of presenting a motion that examines the state of health of the right more than that of the Executive. “If they don’t even understand the censorship of the Government, how are they going to understand each other to present an alternative to the Portuguese?”, ironically António Costa. “I am surprised that the prime minister has not brought popcorn to attend this show in the front row,” said the spokesperson for the Left Bloc, Pedro Filipe Soares, sarcastically, who reproached the extreme right for “doing the Government a favor.”

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Costa took advantage of the session to announce that on the 28th the decree that will establish the conditions of the new privatization of the TAP airline, which was 100% nationalized after the injection of 3.2 billion euros of public aid to save it from bankruptcy, will be approved. in 2021. It will then be known if the Portuguese Government retains the majority ownership of the company, becomes a minority partner in an airline or even completely abandons TAP.

Costa also announced that the next Council of Ministers will approve a measure to stabilize monthly mortgage payments over the next two years to try to help families cope with the rise in interest rates. The prime minister reiterated in the Assembly of the Republic his rejection of the decisions that the European Central Bank is taking to combat inflation and that last week it decreed the tenth interest rate increase in 14 months.

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