Costa has convened an Extraordinary Council of Ministers for the night
The Communist Party of Portugal (PCP) announced this Monday that it would vote against the government budgets for 2022 presented by the government of Socialist Prime Minister António Costa, which have sparked speculation about a possible electoral lead.
The General Secretary of the PCP, Jerónimo de Sousa, announced this Monday that “the PCP will vote against this state budget in view of the commitments and signals given,” reports the Portuguese public broadcaster.
“Portugal doesn’t need a budget at all, it needs answers to the existing problems that are growing with us,” he added.
For De Sousa “there are conditions and means to respond to these problems” and he stressed that the party “does not renounce, under any circumstances, for the defense and conquest of rights and for an answer to the country’s problems battle”.
The question he has raised is to know if there is “will and availability” for this “more global and determined” response. “This answer does not come from the government,” he accused him.
When asked about his willingness to vote, De Sousa stressed that the PCP was “always ready” for “any electoral process”. “Ready to intervene and take part in this struggle when the elections are due, because the President of the Republic decides,” he said.
When asked about the possibility of a “magic blow” that would change the PCP’s vote, De Sousa replied that he “does not believe in witches”.
The authority to call early elections rests with the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has already announced that he will dissolve parliament if there is no budget.
António Costa himself did not comment on the PCP’s decision, but convened an extraordinary council of ministers for that night, according to sources in the newspaper “Diário de Notícias”.
Given the lack of a response from Costa, State Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs Duarte Cordeiro regretted the announcement, stressing that “a tremendous effort has been made”. “We have never come as far with the PCP as we are now. The lack of support calls into question all of these advances,” he warned.
Specifically, he mentioned the increase in the minimum wage, the free kindergartens and the increase in pensions. “It will be difficult to explain to the Portuguese that these measures are in danger,” he added.
The ten MPs of the PCP played a key role in the adoption of the budget. So far only the 108 MPs of the Socialist Party (PS) of Costa are guaranteed, while they will vote against the left bloc, the conservative opposition (Social Democratic Party, Democratic Center and Social Democratic Party, Basta, Liberal Initiative) and now also by the PCP. People-Animals-Nature (PAN) ecologists and two independents had announced their abstention. The ecology party Los Verdes (two MPs) has not yet commented.