Monday, April 12, 2021

PSD considers postponing elections by two months (and PAN wants two days to vote)

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PSD President Rui Rio

PSD President Rui Rio said this week he was “seriously considering” the possibility of calling for a postponement of the municipal elections scheduled for the fall. On the table is a short delay scenario of just two months.

According to the newspaper Public, which advances the news, the leader of the PSD, Rui Rio, will be considering a scenario of postponing the municipal elections of only two months, taking into account the objectives foreseen in the vaccination plan of the Portuguese population, but the proposal is not yet closed .

If the date is changed to November, it will imply the political management of the next State Budget.

The issue of postponement was raised by some social democratic districts because of the context of the pandemic. If the suffrage date remains, the candidates’ pre-campaign start will take place at a time when the vaccination of a large part of the population will not be completed, even if the process proceeds as planned.

In addition, municipal elections are not identical to presidential elections, as they involve thousands of candidates in all districts.

That is why the scenario of postponement for two months is on the table. However, this possibility foresees political tension around the State Budget for 2022 (OE2022), which is voted between November and December.

This Thursday, the Social-Democratic mayors defended the postponement of the municipal elections in “two months, in the worst case”. The representative of the mayors of the PSD and mayor of Mafra, Helder Sousa Silva, stated that “the majority” defends “a small adjustment to the calendar [das eleições autárquicas], until the beginning of December, in the worst case ”.

In addition, the change to the municipalities’ calendar would give the Government and the Assembly of the Republic time to “review the electoral law to allow voting by correspondence, adapting it to the confinement situation ”.

PAN wants two days to vote

The PAN advocates several changes so that going to the polls in municipalities is safer and more participatory: two days of voting, more tables and places for early voting and repeal of the law that provides that a candidate from a group of citizens can only run for one of municipal bodies.

According to the TSF, deputy André Silva considers that these are “amendments to the electoral law so that citizens can get closer to the ballot” and “Learn from the presidential mistakes”.

The PAN spokesman also stresses that they are “surgical changes, but important”. “From our point of view, we could think of extending the voting day to two days, for example, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

André Silva also wants to “ensure that all people who are institutionalized, who are in homes, for example, or people infected or in prophylactic isolation can vote from a distance, that is, the polls go to the institutions or to the home of these people so they can vote ”.

The PAN proposal should be submitted to the Assembly of the Republic in the coming days, so that each party “can make its proposals, debate in general, work in the specialty, have a law approved in Belém so that these specific measures come into effect. force”.

“It is at least premature” to discuss postponement

The secretary general of the PCP, Jerónimo de Sousa, considered “at least premature” to start discussing the postponement of the municipal elections in the autumn due to the pandemic crisis.

It is at least premature be raising this issue now, ”said Jerónimo de Sousa, on the sidelines of a press conference on distance learning, at the party’s headquarters in Lisbon.

The communist leader considered that the country should be concerned with the vaccination process and recalled that if “the scheduled schedules” are met, “more than 70% of the population will be vaccinated in September”, weeks before local elections, which may take place in October.

“This is what really concerns us and what the country should focus on,” he said.

The Liberal Initiative also stated have difficulty understanding the idea of ​​postponement of municipal elections eight months in advance, considering it urgent to debate conditions to generalize early voting on mobility or elections to take place over several days.

“The Liberal Initiative has difficulty understanding how to defend the postponement of an important electoral act for the democratic system eight months in advance. What data support this claim?“, Pointed out the liberal party.

The party questions whether “there is already a conviction that the control of the pandemic will fail” and, if the answer is affirmative, it wants to know “how long the elections would be postponed”.

“What makes sense to us is to prepare, now, a decision so that the topic is not dealt with over the knee“, Defends.

Liberals believe that it is necessary to “define a deadline for making the decisiono, due to the advance with which the institutions, parties and independent movements need to prepare the elections and municipal candidacies ”and also“ to agree now an objective set of epidemiological criteria, real and prospective, that will support the decision ”.

Maria Campos Maria Campos, ZAP // Lusa

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