1. In the past few weeks, Teresa de Sousa has written the clearest pages on the great challenges facing the European Union and the Portuguese geopolitical equation. From the critical perspective of the vaccination saga to the spread of Germany’s geo-economic interests. From misunderstanding the hostility towards the UK to accelerating the investment deal with China to fully resume transatlantic relations. It is important for Europe not to lose the Atlantic vision of connecting with the United States, America in general and the United Kingdom. For Portugal, Europe is only meaningful and useful if it is an Atlantic and global Europe that looks at America, Africa, India and of course China and Japan. Neither Europeans nor Portuguese are interested. This is the teaching of Teresa de Sousa. This was his “teaching”.
2. Last Sunday’s article was very healthy more about the internal political reality, which moreover never “isolates” itself from the European and global environment. The entire focus was on reading the Portuguese system of government and the division of responsibilities between the President of the Republic and the government. The focus was so precise that the title couldn’t be more crystal clear in the form of a question: “Marcelo is the ‘first person’ responsible for fighting the pandemic? No “. The thesis is based on a confirmation from the President that he would allegedly abuse the language and the projection of his institutional role. He then characterizes the system of government as” slight semi-presidentialism “. The dry occupation of a number of powers of an institutional nature – without accepting declare that they presuppose a close and deep intervention in the political situation of every moment – try to demonstrate the claim it makes. And then of course it is in contrast to the tasks entrusted to the government and the prime minister, after all, they are the bearers (wrongly out of step) of primary responsibility.
3. It is not known exactly what this review of the distribution of power and power of the executive pole in the Portuguese political system is about. One thing seems certain to me, however, as I believe that I have made it clear in several writings in this and other newspapers: I disagree at all with the reading of the Portuguese system of government or the alleged (and popular) neutralization of the President of the Republic. But even if this is taken into account in times of constitutional normality, this reading is highly questionable in times of exceptions and emergencies. Let us see, step by step, to what extent it makes sense to shorten this statement by the President and learn from it the lessons that seem to be drawn from the article in question.
4. First, the President could only use one protocol formula – indeed, with exemplary and educational potential – and in that I don’t think there is anything unpleasant to see. He had previously stated in more than one interview that it was his responsibility to take responsibility for everything that went less well. That is, very few criticized him; although in my opinion this specific formulation is worth criticizing and repairing. As the highest judge in the republic, he limited himself to expressing the obvious: it is always the be-all and end-all of the political system that bears the ultimate guarantee of the system, and he does not deny or disqualify this burden.
5. Most likely and most logical, however, is that the President did not resort to virtuous, simply superfluous explanation. No. The current pandemic has caused an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis. In times of crisis, in the semi-presidential systems, the role of the head of state always plays a major role. It increases even more when there is no stable parliamentary majority, which forces the president to be a constant consensus-builder. Imagine what the life of the government would have been like without the intervention of President Marcelo and you quickly realize that its “responsibility” was and is much greater than any conventional and even legalistic view that one dares to assume. The president is like man himself and his circumstances. Few circumstances now will ascribe a head of state in a semi-presidential regime as serious and grave a responsibility as we have lived in the past 366 days.
6. All of this would be enough to justify this saying and maybe not spend more time on it. The crux of the matter, however, lies in the constitutional rules. The severity of the pandemic called for a state of emergency to be declared in the constitution for the first time. No, for a modest fifteen days, but for successive and repeated declarations, the end of which is not in sight. The declaration of a state of emergency is the initiative and responsibility of the President of the Republic. The government – who would ultimately and always be responsible – just needs to be heard. Together with the resolving power – which is so colorfully referred to as the “atomic bomb” – this is the President’s most important power. With one difference: the parliamentary dissolution is a negative power that emanates from the law itself. The state of emergency is an active and compliant power that persists over time and, despite the dangers involved, also requires ultimate responsibility for the regular functioning of democratic institutions. No, President Marcelo was not hyperbolic, nor did he take over or flood his duties. He also left no or several messages for the Prime Minister, which, by the way, he could very well leave. In large part, it’s what it exists for: leaving messages. He limited himself to invoking and assuming a power and responsibility in which the constitution invests him. In exactly this context he is really the first in town. And there is no need to hide it.
YES. PSD and Carlos Moedas. The election and acceptance of Carlos Moedas creates enormous hope in Lisbon. Inspirational and cosmopolitan, it has all the makings to add the dynamic forces of the capital.
DO NOT. Competition in the public ministry. The Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Council is following up the case of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. Late and not very objective definition of criteria. Nothing that serves the rule of law.