The PSD will present next week its project to reform the electoral system, although it is skeptical about the possibility of reaching an agreement with the PS on this and other matters, Rui Rio announced today.
“The proposal for a constitutional review has already been presented. For the week, we present the proposal to revise the electoral system – it is not the political system, it is a part of the political system, part of the electoral system”, declared the president of the PSD, during a lunch-debate at a hotel in Lisbon.
In his opinion, however, “this is hardly ever achieved with this PS”, led by António Costa, “supported by the BE and the PCP”, but it remains for the PSD to present its proposals, and then the socialists “vote or not vote , either they accept or they don’t”.
In this lunch-debate promoted by the International Club of Portugal, Rui Rio he presented himself as the politician who made the most effort “to reach understandings to lead to the reforms that the country needs”.
“I think there is no one in post-April 25th history who has been subjected to as much criticism as I subjected myself – that it did not oppose, that it was soft, that it was this and that, in the name of the national interest – so that the country can have these reforms. Nobody, I don’t see anybody who had done that, because I think this is absolutely vital for the country,” he said.
In contrast, the president of the PSD defined the PS as “the main builder of this system” and “the ultimate exponent of conservatism” that prevents reforms for the “regime revitalization”, adding: “With a bit of skill, the PS is it own the system and therefore does not want to change”.
Rui Rio pointed out as an example the appointment, which the Government has suspended, of Vítor Fernandes to preside over Banco de Fomento. “The PS’s concern is to lay its stones, it is to feed this clientelism”, he accused.
The president of the PSD defended, however, that “there is no other way out” to be able to revise the Constitution, make reforms in the political system or in the justice system if we do not seek understandings with the socialists.
Asked what makes him insist on agreements with the PS, he replied: “Why do I insist on seeking reforms when the reform partner has shown that he does not want to do them? First and foremost, because Portugal needs it”.
“The PS may not want it once, twice, three times, I don’t do any constitutional review without the PS. This is arithmetic: we need 67% of the votes in the Assembly of the Republic, we have 81% with the PS. Only with the PS is it possible”, he argued. “And I want to change the electoral system – I can only change it with the PS, because I need a majority,” he added.
According to Rui Rio, with the PSD’s proposals on the table, perhaps “the country will notice, penalize those who do not want to do it and, at the limit, oblige those who don’t want to do it to do it“.
Regarding the tone of his speech as leader of the biggest opposition party, “if the speech is harder or less hard”, he justified: “If I have any hope that it can be done, the speech can be less hard so as not to derail the dialogue. And if today’s hope is already smaller, as it is now, the speech is tougher, as it is now. But we are also going to have local elections and the differences must be highlighted more”.