Monday, April 12, 2021

Parties have 15 days to decide law. PS proposes polls open until 8 pm

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António Cotrim / Lusa

The parties will try, in the next two weeks, to reach an agreement to revise the local electoral law, contested by the movement of independent mayors who complain of having hindered the candidacies.

This Thursday, in the Assembly of the Republic, in Lisbon, deputies debated, in general, the nine bills from seven parties, and despite criticism and blaming the central bloc (PS and PSD) for the law that makes it difficult for candidacies, they agreed not to vote on the diplomas this Thursday.

Using a provision in the bylaws, all proposals will now be discussed, in particular, in the Constitutional Affairs Committee, in order to try a common text.

Everyone, from the Left Block to the CDS, promised to work on that consensus, although there are many proposals and many different from each other.

The 15-day deadline for the debate of the projects, in committee, can be extensible and it will have to be confirmed in the voting session, in the late afternoon, in the parliament.

The most recent changes to the municipal electoral law were approved at the end of the last legislative session, in July, by the two largest parties, being very contested by the National Association of Independent Municipal Movements (AMAI) for making it difficult for these movements to stand as candidates.

The approved rules – and which the parties now want to change, albeit with different solutions – oblige independent movements to collect separate signatures to run for chambers, municipal assemblies and parish councils and prevent the use of the same name for those candidates to present themselves. wishes.

In view of the dragging of the issue, a group of independent mayors has met to defend the amendments to the law and at the last meeting, on March 31, in Portalegre, again threatened to create a party, from this Friday, April 9th, to be able to run under the same conditions of party candidacies.

On the other hand, this Thursday, the National Elections Commission (CNE) proposed to Parliament that it oblige independent candidates to the municipalities to expressly state whether they are militants of any party.

In response, the Mayor of Porto Rui Moreira considered that the CNE has been very “lazy” on the issue of the laws of independents and changes to laws that are being discussed in Parliament.

PS proposes polls until 8 pm and vote is confined

The PS proposed that the ballot boxes in the next municipalities be open another hour, until 8 pm, and foresees the vote for confined or elderly citizens in nursing homes who are in the county where they are registered.

The proposals were added by the Socialist bench to the bill that it was debating in parliament, to clarify the electoral legislation that independent mayors complain about making it difficult to stand for election.

These changes are, according to the PS, an attempt to answer the problems identified during the presidential elections in January, carried out at a critical stage of the covid-19 epidemic, with the formation of queues, both during the early vote and on the day of the vote.

For the next municipalities, in September or October, according to the Socialists’ bill, early voting on mobility is not foreseen on the previous Sunday, but rather the vote of people in confinement due to covid-19, as long as they are in the municipality where they are registered.

The agency Lusa, the socialist deputy Isabel Oneto explained that the scope of the measure of confined voting is extended, allowing early voting to those who are in residential structures for the elderly.

Another proposal is for the polls to be open longer – in practice, 12 hours, between 8 am and 8 pm.

The work of the tables starts at 7:30 am, 30 minutes early, in order to proceed with the discharge of the confined votes and the usual ones, of detainees, hospitalized persons, military personnel and students.

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