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“The party system is very stable.” Augusto Santos Silva considers that PS embodies liberalism and the Central Block has credibility

The President of the Assembly of the Republic, Augusto Santos Silva, speaks to the press after the videoconference meeting with the President of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, at the Assembly in Lisbon, on May 18, 2022. TIAGO PETINGA/ LUSA

The president of the Assembly of the Republic considered false the thesis of discrediting the PS and the PSD, and defined the Portuguese socialists as the most authentic expression of classical political liberalism and not of the Liberal Initiative.

These positions were defended by Augusto Santos Silva, as a socialist militant and PS deputy elected by the Fora da Europa circle, in a session promoted by JS, entitled “Jornadas pela Democracia no Século XXI”.

Before a few dozen members of the JS, at the national headquarters of the PS, with Miguel Costa Matos, leader of the socialist youth at his side, Augusto Santos Silva pointed out that the last legislative elections, in January 2022, “it reinforced the electoral weight of the two great national parties”.

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“Therefore, this idea that the PS and the PSD have lost all credibility, that nobody believes in them anymore, that the Central Bloc is a shame, that the Portuguese no longer see themselves in the Central Bloc, has a small problem: is is contrary to reality as we know it from the latest available objective indicator. In parliament, perhaps 90% of the deputies belong to the two largest parties, which, by the way, has always been an advantage of the Portuguese system”, he maintained.

According to the former Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, the Portuguese system has registered “a logic of alternation, and this alternation takes place in the center of the system and not at its ends”.

“We have to be calm, because what people tell us is very different from what we usually hear in the newspapers or on television. What the people there tell us is that in Portugal, at the moment, the party system is very stable“, he defended. Even in relation to the municipal elections, in which there are independent candidacies, the President of the Assembly of the Republic said that this phenomenon has a reduced global impact.

“The victories of independent candidacies are the exception and not the rule. And we know that most of the independent candidacies result from internal conflicts in the parties with the constitution of lists, ”he observed.

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Therefore, in the perspective of Augusto Santos Silva, the Portuguese political-partisan system is “quite robust”, a point at which he took the opportunity to leave a warning about the risks of making a profound change in the current electoral system.

“I strongly recommend that you do not get carried away by the siren songs about the very voluntary replacements of the electoral system, even if you listen to the argument that there are 600,000 lost Portuguese votes, not used by the hondt system. A good electoral system guarantees representativeness and governability, ”she stressed.

From the ideological point of view, before an audience made up mostly of young socialists, Augusto Santos Silva defended a thesis that he considered controversial.

“The strongest and clearest, most legitimate, most natural expression of classical political liberalism is social democracy, and in Portugal it is the PS. It is not the Liberal Initiative. There is a terrible confusion between classical political liberalism and economic liberalism and, recently, neoliberalism”, he justified, before recommending reading Francis Fukuyama.

“Democracy is not political liberalism. But democracy is the extension of political liberalism to universal suffrage,” he added.

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On the current political situation, he left a message to the left parties of the PS.

“I think that our friends on the left run the risk of making a small error of appreciation when they define that their main political objective is to overthrow the current government and change the current composition of parliament,” he said. If that happens, according to the former minister, “the advances that have been made in terms of civil and personal liberties would be blocked” by an executive led by the PSD.

“Although our center-right party calls itself social democrats, on these issues the vast majority of its decision makers are anything but social democrats,” he said.

Source: Observadora

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