Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary of the PCP, CDU - Unitary Democratic Coalition - PCP-PEV | 2021 Local Elections

«The CDU distinguishes itself for not letting life and rights be locked down»

«The CDU distinguishes itself for not letting life and rights be locked down»

Comrades and friends

A first word to greet the Ecologist Party “The Greens” and the Associação Intervenção Democrática, which, with the Portuguese Communist Party, provide legal support to CDU - Unitary Democratic Coalition.

A coalition that, in addition to the political forces that comprise it, mandate after mandate, is confirmed as a broad and wide space of participation, of convergence of thousands of men and women who, without party affiliation, find in it a concrete way with their intervention, their work, their experience and life paths to contribute to the progress and development of their parishes and municipalities.

The CDU is, through its work and course, a great national political force in local government, inextricably linked to the construction of democratic local government, for its affirmation as a space for solving problems and intervention in favour of development and well-being. A Local Government that is an integral part of the democratic regime and its power system, an achievement that has been enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic.

A force of April, the CDU reaffirms, in this month that marks the 45th. anniversary of the Constitution and the 47th. anniversary of the April Revolution, the dimension and value of Local Government.

A Local Government widely participated, plural, collegial and democratic, endowed with an effective administrative and financial autonomy that has in the CDU the most consequential force for its defence, affirmation and dignification.

A local government that has yet to fulfil in its constitutional edifice the creation of administrative regions continuously postponed by the hand of PS, PSD and CDS, denying the country an instrument capable of contributing to confer democratic legitimacy for development and territorial cohesion, for the use of local potential and resources, for the modernisation and organisation of a Public Administration at the service of the populations.

The so-called democratisation process of the CCDRs [Commissions of Regional Coordination and Development] that united PS and PSD, is nothing but a manoeuvre to delude and justify the absence of regionalisation, ensuring the perpetuation of centralist policies and command over decisions and processes that demand an effectively decentralised participation.

A local government impoverished by continuous disregard of its autonomy and, in particular, by the liquidation of more than a thousand parishes that, imposed in 2013 against the will of the populations, continue eight years later unless they are replaced, with what this means, less proximity, participation and ability to solve problems and to represent and defend popular interests.
A local government that instead of reinforcing its means is faced with a process of transfer of responsibilities that, in the name of a false decentralisation, aims to free the State from responsibilities in areas and competences that belong to it, contributing, not to the response and enforcement of rights, but creating situations of inequality in access to universal functions such as healthcare, education or social protection.

«Work, Honesty, Competence» translates in short, a path of intervention justly recognised, and which characterises the action of its elected representatives. A path that, guided by these criteria, places new demands and increased responsibility for each mandate to continue to correspond to the broad confidence that hundreds of thousands of Portuguese people place in the CDU.

This is also our commitment: to continue this distinctive intervention that makes the CDU a force associated with what best and most innovative has been done in local government.

A distinctive intervention in the administration of the municipalities that are entrusted to us and where we assume greater responsibilities resulting from being a majority there, but also when in minority as an indispensable voice in the defence of the interests of the populations, a necessary presence to embody local causes and aspirations, a demanding and constructive voice to ensure transparent and effective administration.

It is this contribution that the CDU proposes to confirm and continue in the next term in local administration.

Affirming itself as a force that, beyond the mere sum of proposals and ideas, holds a project.

Assuming participation as an essential factor of democratic administration, ensuring the effective involvement of the population in the definition of the main options of local government policy. A dimension expressed both in the field of planning, in the development of its socio-cultural, educational and sports projects, or even in the public assessment and scrutiny of its work with the rendering of accounts of its pledges.

Paying attention to the workers of the municipalities, defending their rights, valuing their work and the safety conditions in which they exercise their functions, an example of which is the application of the pay supplement for hazardous and unhealthy work long owed to the workers of the municipalities, which has in the municipalities administered by CDU the most complete and contrasting implementation.

Implementing an integrated administration that ensures the construction of humanised urban spaces, environmentally balanced and provided with equipment and programmes for their use and animation that are essential for a social and collective life.

Promoting an administration of the territory that, while guaranteeing a balanced development, safeguards the defence of public and collective interest from speculative pressure and defends the public space.

Fostering a local policy that ensures the cultural and sports valorisation of the populations.

Assuming the defence of the public character of the provision of essential basic services by the local administration, firstly by the refusal of the strategy of private appropriation of water management, as an essential instrument to safeguard the interests of the populations.

Objectives that aim to ensure, within the scope of the powers of the municipalities, the conditions for an adequate local development and to guarantee a better life for the populations.

A future of confidence. This is the meaning and message that the CDU projects, combating and countering the loss of hope that the difficult times we live in tend to promote.

Times that have to be overcome, and in which the CDU was where it should be: with the populations and workers responding to the epidemic, fighting fear, protecting health and rights, promoting the love of living.

A time when, continuing the work associated with the implementations of their programmes and pledges, the CDU's elected representatives responded to more urgent problems, of the covid-19 epidemic, even beyond what are the powers of local government, and made the demand for measures that the government must ensure heard.

The CDU also distinguishes itself by not allowing life and rights to be locked down, proving that life can and must continue, creating all the conditions for prevention and protection.

A force that shows the meaning of collective experience, of sharing and participation as indispensable for human fulfilment and happiness. A force that looks to the future with confidence, that encourages bonds of common solidarity and action, that does not take refuge, that stimulates the intervention and the opinion of each one on the answers to the problems of the present and the solutions for the future.

As we have stated, it is not lockdowns or states of emergency that the country needs to respond to the epidemic.

What the country needs is investment in the NHS and in the public healthcare structure, more testing and screening assumed by the State and not endorsed to other entities, is a vaccination programme not tied to the interests of multinationals of the pharmaceutical sector and the European Union's submission to these multinationals.

What the country needs is effective support for the resumption of activities in safety, for the implementation of appropriate sanitary measures for each one of them.

What is needed is to respond to the current situation by facing accumulated problems, to do so by breaking with the right-wing policy that was at its origin, to start a course of recovery to pave the way for development and social progress with another policy, a patriotic and alternative policy and of the left.

To respond to current and more urgent problems without yielding to options such as the deficit that, in practice, make the support and measures that can and should be taken, many of which are expressed in the State Budget and beyond it, continue to be dragged on or perverted by the PS government.

An option that justifies that instead of responding to the problems, the PS government takes refuge in the law to appeal to the Constitutional Court when what was required was its initiative to approve the necessary measures instead of contesting and trying to prevent them from being implemented.

What is needed is not the repeated announcement of millions subordinating them to the interests of those who drive the European capitalist integration, but using the resources - whether from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), the multiannual financial framework or the State Budget - to direct and integrate them into a sovereign development strategy.

When some people cynically take advantage of recent developments in court cases, it must be said that the fight against corruption and economic-financial crime is a fight to be fought in defence of the democratic regime and for the deepening of democracy. A few days before we celebrate the April Revolution, it is worth remembering that the struggle for freedom and democracy conquered with the 25th. of April was also the struggle against the fascist regime in which corruption was State policy at the service of monopoly groups and large landowners.

Comrades and friends

The CDU has the objective of presenting electoral slates throughout the country. Assuming its identity, affirming the different nature of its project, assuming itself as an alternative force, both against PSD and CDS, PS and Left Block.

Marking their presence with their programmes and their project, refusing to hide under false so-called "independent" projects, which, under the cover of slates of citizen voters, embrace, in most cases, disguised coalitions, party arrangements or an instrument to promote economic interests or personal ambitions.

More strength to the PCP and the CDU in October will mean more intervention at the national and local level to give expression to the defence of the interests of the workers and people, an intervention all the more important and topical when under the pretext of the epidemic develop new and more intense forms of exploitation that translate into impoverishment, inequality and injustice.

More strength to the PCP and the CDU will bring closer the materialisation of the patriotic and left-wing alternative policy that Portugal needs to ensure the sovereign development to which it is entitled. A policy that values work and workers, promotes national production and creates jobs with rights, ensures investment, defends the right to healthcare, education and social protection, regains control of strategic sectors to the State.

As a space of democracy, in the CDU converge all those who aspire and demand a real change in policies, all those who identify with the public cause and place themselves at the service of the interests of the workers, the people and the country.

Space where the strength and the will of those who trust that a better life is possible and who look with confidence to a future in which, through work and struggle, the construction of a Portugal of progress and social justice will materialise.

Long live the CDU!