The Central Committee of the PCP having met on 18th. December undertook an evaluation of the local government election results and the developments introduced in the present political framework resulting from the analysis drawn by the party in government. Considering the globally negative results obtained by CDU and the need to carry out a wide debate on the results and their consequences, the Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the necessary and prompt answer to the predictable short term evolution of the political situation and the importance
of affirming in this framework the PCP and its strengthening as an indispensable condition to build an alternative to the policy of the right.
1. The Central Committee of the PCP considers that the negative result obtained by CDU in last Sunday's elections does not correspond to the aspirations and the perspectives that the development of the work and the campaign foresaw nor to the effort and the merit of CDU's work and the candidacies it presented.
In effect, the results obtained - 28 Mayoralties, 250 Parish presidencies, around 580,000 votes (without taking into account those of the coalition To Love Lisbon (1)) and 10.6% votes for Municipal Councils - show an important loss of positions by CDU, namely at the level of Mayoralties (13 less than in 1997), of mandates (in Municipal Councils and Assemblies and in Parish Assemblies) and of percentage in votes (about 1.4% less).
The Central Committee of the PCP greets the important and expressive electoral victory expressed by the conquest of the Setúbal Municipality and stresses, in anticipation, the attempts to minimize our influence and positions in local government, that also in Local Government CDU is confirmed as the third national political force, with more than 3,300 directly elected members and with responsibilities in ruling several and important local governments. A presence that also meant progress as witnessed by the conquest of positions and electoral progress in municipalities and parishes in several districts in the centre and the north of the country.
2. Without lessening a bit the understandable feeling of disappointment brought about by these municipal defeats, we should also take into account that, in some cases, CDU lost Mayoralties with a strong vote (in some above 40%) and by a few votes (for example, Barreiro by 390 votes, Mértola by 57 and Barrancos by 12), but, at the same time, as in the past, also won some Mayoralties by scant margins of vote and failed to re-conquer Marinha Grande by 300 votes. In the same way, the Central Committee finds it fit to note that the margin that separated us from holding 12 of the 14 municipalities is just superior to 9,000 votes, which shows that the loss of these mayoralties does not correspond to a drastic loss of electoral influence.
3. Without rushing to conclusions in the evaluation of the reasons and the causes which were at the root of these electoral results, which were undeniably due to a set of more complex and contradictory factors than in the previous elections, The Central Committee notes that the loss of several positions, in most cases, was due wholly or in part, to its own loss of influence and in some cases to the continued erosion of PSD votes in clear benefit of PS.
In national terms, albeit several exceptions of different directions, it seems patent that PSD capitalizes its increase in votes and new victories (some of a surprising dimension) on the expression of discontent with the PS government but, on the other hand, PCP and CDU, also with several exceptions, could not generally hold its previous local government vote, namely in situations of direct face off and competition with PS which, in these cases, manages to avoid the electoral erosion caused by its policy in other municipalities when in competition with PSD.
In this context, it is possible to conclude that, at least in part, the local government elections were transformed into advanced legislative elections as inferred by PSD's campaign and largely magnified by the media (and which PCP did not accompany) and certain factors of dramatization pressured and weighed in approaching CDU's local government vote to the traditionally lesser vote in legislative elections.
4. At the national level, it should also be referred as particularly negative, the defeat, albeit by a scant margin, of the Coalition To Love Lisbon, which puts an end to a period which, after a decade of disastrous government by the right, represented a great and positive change for the capital of which the PCP, as part and partner of the Coalition, deservedly continues to be proud.
5. It is undeniable that the PSD in view of the results, namely in the number of mayoralties, was the main beneficiary of the electoral expression of discontent generated by government's policy (which had its main opponents in PCP and the struggle of the workers), the Central Committee of the PCP considers it necessary to draw attention that it is an unfounded and precipitated conclusion to try to present PSD's gains as demolishing when the progress of the vote of the right as a whole (PSD, CDS-PP and their coalitions) is a little more than 3%. Together with the significant losses suffered by PS in terms of Mayoralties, it should also be noted that the Left Block decreases significantly when compared with its results in the same municipalities in the legislative elections.
6. The PCP draws attention to the weight of the continued campaign of instrumentalizing the state apparatus, the use of public office, of lies, populism and demagoguery and discriminatory criteria in the media, in the expression of the will of many voters and the conditioning of their vote.
7. The Central Committee of the PCP greets all activists and candidates - members of the PCP, the Green Party and ID (2) and thousands of independents - who throughout the campaign contributed with their work to the diffusion of CDU's proposals and project, in an action marked by a great generosity, engagement and dedication and stresses the importance of maintaining this valuable congregation of wills and energies in the Local power work and future political action. The campaign undertaken and the trust of almost six hundred thousand Portuguese in CDU will continue in other moments of intervention and struggle for a better life, in defence of their rights and social justice. With the responsibilities gained by the value of its work in local government, CDU reaffirms its entire disposal to continue its action in defence of Local Power and contribute through its work in local government, in majority or in minority, to improve the living conditions of the populations and the local and regional development.
The Central Committee announces its purpose of, at a date to be set, holding a national initiative on the Party and Local Power.
8. At the present political moment, exploiting the undeniable impact of CDU's negative result, it is tried to instil the idea that, as a direct or indirect consequence of this result, PCP and CDU would inevitably be doomed to a decrease in the forthcoming legislative elections.
On this matter, it is important to note that there is no mechanical or automatic relationship between last Sunday's results and the coming elections. It is worth remembering that in the 1997 local government elections CDU lost 8 Mayoralties and 0.9% votes and in the meantime, in the 1999 legislative elections had a small increase in percentage, reaching 9% and electing two more deputies than in 1995.
9. Following last Sunday's electoral results, and having in mind the new and increasing demands on the political situation and on the action and intervention of the Party, the Central Committee stresses the importance of the measures to be taken to act on the more heartfelt problems of the workers and the Portuguese people and to materialize the defined guidelines to strengthen the Party's organisation. The Central Committee also appeals to all organisations and militants to, while strengthening internal democratic life, animate and participate in the necessary collective and individual reflection contributing to the select of the ideas, opinions and work guidelines which, materializing the guidelines defined by the 16th. Congress, enable the strengthening of the organisation and intervention of the PCP and the action of its militants and better face the social, political and electoral battles in sight.
10. The political moment is marked by the resignation of Prime Minister António Guterres following the heavy loss of the party in government. In this situation, the holding of advanced elections, although not being the only possible constitutional solution, seems politically inevitable.
The CC of the PCP considers that PS's defeat is in dissociable from the effects of its policy of the right, exploited by PSD and by PP who, although identified and in agreement with the essential aspects of this policy, dissociated demagogically and artificially in order to capitalize on the discontent of different social sectors and strata.
The PCP reminds and stresses that PSD (alone or accompanied by CDS-PP), in all that is more structuring in economic and social policy, is not an alternative to PS's policy of the right, defending old and aggravated guidelines and measures already defeated by the Portuguese people.
Without ignoring the subjective effects of the result of these local government elections, the PCP - for the values and ideals it defends, the validity, actuality, autonomy and transforming content of its project -, continues to represent an indispensable force to break the cycles of alternation between PS and PSD, who change faces and labels but uphold the essential aspects of a wrong and unjust policy and affirms, with determination, the need of a policy and alternative genuinely of the left in Portugal.
Trusting and considering indispensable the development of struggles and of social and mass movements around concrete objectives, in articulation with the convergence of demanding a new policy, the PCP is in a condition to successfully wage the coming battles, as is indispensable for the defence of the rights of the workers, the well being of the people, the solution of the national problems and the progress of Portugal.
1 - "To Love Lisbon" - Coalition of PCP, Socialist
Party and Greens' Party
2- ID - Democratic Intervention