Declaration of interests: I support the candidacy of Marisa Matias for the presidency of the Republic, maintaining my condition of not affiliated with any party and without prejudice, in the face of the alternatives then known, to have spoken in favor of another candidate. In the fight against the inorganicity of far-right political power, the greatest cause that moves and deeply worries me in today’s democratic Portugal is Marisa who, in my opinion, embodies the better the urgency of dismantling such ideas.
Having said that, at first glance Costa has lost his hand in his government or, at least, there are outbreaks of uncontrolled rebellion. It is common knowledge that Pedro Nuno Santos (PNS) represents a most left line within the PS and that he legitimately aspires to be the future secretary general and the future prime minister. We also know that Costa prefers Medina for his succession. Another piece of evidence: PNS has demonstrated, especially in the management of the TAP file, a lack of sense of the State, speaking in Parliament as at a low table. A certain institutionalism is required of all and of all those who occupy positions of sovereignty, since it is Portugal that they represent. Proof that Costa’s poisoned gift of becoming a minister turns into a real “banana peel”.
It is obvious that one can wonder if Costa should have imposed the “cork law” on members of the government, at least until an official position of the PS is taken. What is certain is that, from a constitutional point of view, it is up to the Prime Minister to lead the government and what happens or is discussed within him is subject to secrecy. Legally, nothing to report. But the question is political and not of the legal world. Therefore, when Santos Silva spoke on the topic, he opened Pandora’s Box and started PNS to speak (and more will follow). The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing wanted to delimit his political space and demonstrate that he is not afraid of the leader, who even challenges him and capitalizes on the internal discontent of the socialist hosts over Costa’s support for Marcelo, to Palmela, in a magical way. , in order to distract from a difficult time the leader experienced at the time.
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As I have the image of Santos Silva of an experienced politician and a very intelligent man who does not give a point without a knot, besides being, often, a spokesperson for what Costa cannot or not to say, I conclude that PNS fell into the trap that they set you. When he spoke, troops were recruited, he shouldn’t have and he could have been lost, because the PS’s electoral base is not unhappy with Marcelo, he realizes Costa’s choice and he doesn’t like a enfant terrible who wants to have a funeral before he’s dead. It would take more tact and patience on the part of the PNS which, I believe, thus lost an opportunity to overtake Medina.
And with that, if an undeniable message of a leaderless government is sent overseas, in which each minister plays their out-of-tune instrument, it is certain that Costa has measured the scope of his intervention. I was aware that people like PNS and others would not resist relieving the itchiness caused by the pimple through the throat which is the mainstay of current RA. And they just needed someone to liquidate them. Now, internally, I think it was a masterstroke, because power and its exercise are the best cement of aggregation of all parties. If the activists and sympathizers feel that they have a lot to lose with an appearance of lack of government unity, it is natural that a certain “witch hunt” begins within the PS. And who presents himself as embodying this “bad guy” who calls into question the continuity of the socialists in power? PNS appears to be the most immediate response, even if it was one of the major contributors to the solution of the machine, which remains a beautiful irony of fate.
If this is the sign of the beginning of the end of socialist governments, I think no one can say with any certainty. That it is a movement “à la Costa” to unite the party around it seems much more likely. And more: the Prime Minister may already be putting together a set of arguments to end the Portuguese EU presidency next year, dramatize the rhetoric in the face of a state budget for 2022 which is expected to be a very difficult parliamentary approval and, with this, to be called to the polls in advance.