Former President of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva considers that the current socialist government, “supported by the far-left parties, has not been able to take advantage of the good sustainability conditions of the Portuguese economy inherited” from the PSD/CDS executive.
In an opinion article published this Saturday in the weekly Expresso, Cavaco Silva accuses António Costa’s Government of not having followed the same method as Ireland, after having left, like Portugal, “cleanly from the Financial Assistance Program that in 2021 negotiated with the troika”.
However, the former Head of State also criticizes the Government’s opponents, denouncing a “weak and aimless political opposition, lacking a consistent strategy”.
“Portugal continued to grow less than the countries with which it should be compared and the relative impoverishment, which should have started to reverse, continued to worsen. It has been the reflection of a victory of the far left parties Government supporters, whose objectives are part of the weakening of the growth factors of our economy, and who explicitly support Governments of countries where dictatorship and poverty prevail”, he says.
For the former head of state, the fight against poverty “has never been an effective priority of the Communist Party and the Left Bloc”.
However, Aníbal Cavaco Silva notes that Portugal will receive financial support from the European Union (EU) and the European Central Bank (ECB), between 2021 and 2027, “of a very high amount, never before verified”.
According to the former President of the Republic, even with the support “there will not be a reversal of the country’s relative decay”, criticizing the current government’s economic policy guidelines.
“Without a clear change of course, which allows to overcome the obstacles to economic and social development, Portugal will continue to decline to the tail of the eurozone in terms of wealth produced per inhabitant. It will be painful to see the country lose a golden opportunity to get closer to the EU’s front platoon”, he warns.
With several criticisms of the Socialist Party Government, Cavaco Silva claims that the Executive “lost sense of the role of the tax system in the economic and social development of the country”.
“Guided by mere electoral interests, the Government bets, above all, on the expansion of consumption, which, in the short term, can be seen as an objective, but it is not a means of promoting sustainable economic growth and lasting improvement of the well-being of the population in a highly indebted country like Portugal. In addition to this wrong choice, there is an ideological attitude against big companies and against private initiative and innovation”, he says.
Considering the pandemic context irrelevant in the analysis of the country’s relative impoverishment, the former head of State states that “the virus also affects other EU countries” with which Portugal compares itself and that “it does not serve […] of apology for the mistakes of the Socialist Government”.
“The impoverishment of the country has been shrouded, to the discredit of our democracy, in a shadow of silence. Several factors have contributed to this. From the outset, a weak and aimless political opposition, lacking a consistent strategy of denouncing the Government’s errors, omissions and ethically reprehensible attitudes”, he accuses.
Cavaco Silva still writes that many Portugueses “are afraid to criticize the Government”, for fear of being harmed in their personal professional or business life, including that of family members.
“For the socialist power, merit counts for little, in addition to the threatening, rude and even offensive language with which it attacks anyone who dares to criticize the Government. For some people with a weaker backbone, leaning on the socialist government is seen as the best position to climb beyond the Peter principle”, he stresses.
According to the former President of the Republic, the “socialist bet on silencing the country’s relative impoverishment is an expression of the loss of quality in Portuguese democracy”, arguing that it is also explained by the subservience of part of the media to the Government’s logic, to the its propaganda and disinformation, in a clear departure from the principles of independence and indeed that they should guide it, which has been publicly denounced by experts in the sector”.
Attacking the various PS Governments, from António Guterres to José Sócrates to António Costa, Cavaco Silva says it is “painful to verify that, in 16 years, it has already been overtaken by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia and that the forecasts are that, in the next two or three years, the same will happen with Poland, Hungary, Romania, Latvia and Slovakia”.
For the near future, the former President leaves two challenges: “recover lost positions in terms of development” and “bring Portugal back to the countries of full democracy”.
In March, recalls Expresso, Cavaco Silva had already spoken of a “gagged democracy”. Now, he insists that “the control of the State apparatus” and “the subservience of part of the media to the Government’s logic” contribute to silencing what should be “a prominent theme in the political debate”.