Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué of the Central Committee of the PCP - 20 March 2002

1. Last Sunday's electoral results not only jeopardize the opportunity for a political change in the direction the country and its problems demanded, but signify a very unfavourable situation in the national political life, the risk of a dangerous deepening of the policy of the right and further developments in the offensive against social rights and conquests. Although PSD and CDS-PP obtained an electoral expression slightly superior to the one gained by the forces situated to the left of the Parliament (48.9% against 47.7%), the fact is that the right now has an absolute majority
in the future Assembly of the Republic.

The attainment by PSD and CDS-PP an absolute majority of deputies, inseparable from the failure of the PS administration and the vacuum left by the frustration of the hope of thousands of voters fed by the socialist promises in 1995, is the expression of an insistent campaign meant to capitalize to the right the discontent and the aspiration for a change. Contrary to the expressive dislocation to the right and adherence to its proposals that were at the root of previous PSD victories in 1987 and 1991, the present result mainly signifies a movement of disbelief and erosion of trust in PS's policy and its governments. Far from corresponding to a necessary and indispensable change for the better, the results constitute a new factor of development and worsening of the more negative traits of the same guideline, which, with different expression and intensity, has determined the country's policy during the last 16 years.

The negative result obtained by CDU (7% and 12 deputies) - meaning a loss of 5 deputies and two percentage points - far from the goals we fought for and the real needs for occurring a change for the better of the national political situation, leaves further away the perspective of the construction of an alternative and a policy of the left for Portugal. As the PCP has insistently pointed, and the results prove, not only CDU's loss of influence would leave further away the possibility of a policy of the left, but the transfer of votes from CDU to PS would not change a bit the result of the right nor prevent its possible electoral success.

2. The Central Committee draws attention to a set of unfavourable factors which weighed negatively on CDU's campaign and its results, first of which are to be outlined the conditions in which the elections were called and took place (by force of the Prime Minister's resignation and determining option of PS, and under the burden of the local election results amplified to explore CDU's electoral unsuccessfulness and artificially increase the success of the right); the insistence on a bipolarised campaign with unprecedented intensity guided towards reducing the elections to a choice between two alleged "candidates for Prime Minister" (meant to discourage the vote on alternative policies and solutions); the prolonged offensive against the Party with a strong expression in important organs of the media, sustained by the public intervention of some members of the Party (having as political lines a relative absolution of PS's responsibilities and a predominant responsibilisation of the PCP for the lack of an alternative of the left) and which contributed for a continuous degradation of PCP's image, distortion and caricature of its positions and discredit
of its proposals and project with effects on the determination and confidence of many CDU voters and supporters; and also the blatant discrimination and even hostility suffered in many cases by CDU's campaign.

3. Sharing the sorrow and concern with CDU's electoral results, understandably and justifiably felt by most of the Party's members and sympathizers, the Central Committee stresses however that the electoral defeat suffered means that the valuable work, action and intervention carried out by the Party did not get the electoral recognition they deserved and not that this work, action and intervention did not exist nor was meritorious.

The Central Committee stresses not only the legitimacy but the imperious need of critically examining, discussing and pointing deficiencies or even mistakes in the guideline or action which may have had influence on CDU's electoral result.

It stresses however that the thesis, easily accepted under the present circumstances, that wherever there is an electoral failure there were inevitably mistakes in the guideline, does not take into account neither the complexities nor the factors of uncertainty of the political action, the electoral intervention and the formation of currents of opinion nor the evidence that the electoral results of a force do not depend only upon the correctness of its guideline and action but also, among other multiple factors, upon the strength of the opponents.

The Central Committee greets the thousands of PCP's militants, members of PEV and ID and other CDU activists who, through their convinced and generous participation engaged in CDU's campaign, tried to contribute in explaining, placing at the centre of the debate the problems of the country and point out the decisive importance that would be the strengthening of CDU's positions in the absence of an absolute majority by a party and the placing of the right in minority.

The Central Committee addresses a word of firm confidence to all those who voted CDU and reaffirms its disposition of continuing with them the struggle in defense of their rights and a better life.

4. The Central Committee of the PCP, reminding that during the electoral campaign CDU strongly fought such an outcome, stresses that respect for the electoral results should not lead to attitudes of underestimation or insensibility in view of the serious, worrying and dangerous change represented by the attainment of an absolute majority of deputies together by PSD and CDS-PP.

It is positive that the voters rejected an absolute majority by any party. But whatever the degree of agreement between PSD and CDS-PP, it is undeniable that political and institutional conditions have been created for the formation of a government clearly bent upon an offensive against the wages and the rights of the workers and important elements of the democratic and constitutional regime, a serious drawback on social matters (health, social security) and advances in the policy of privatisations and attacks on public services, and a profound subordination to the interests and dictates of the big capital.

The Central Committee stresses that, with the present parliamentary situation, it will depend upon the movement of resistance, protest and struggle of the workers and other srata and classes, in a determining way, to prevent disastrous drawbacks and aggressions against important social rights and conquests.

In the Assembly of the Republic and in all other fields of its intervention in national life, the PCP will assume an attitude of active opposition and combat against the programme of the government of the right and will not spare efforts to impose retreats on its anti-social and anti-popular policy, contribute for the success and victory for important popular demands and aspirations and create the conditions for a future turn to the left in national policy.

The Central Committee stresses that the situation created by the electoral results imposes the need of constituting a strong convergence among the democratic forces, which, without hindering their legitimate autonomy and differentiation, will enable to face in a more efficient way the looming dangers.

5. The situation created by the electoral results renders more present and important the role of the PCP to the workers, the people and the country. After a very demanding phase conditioned by the concentration of attention of 3 electoral battles within only 14 months, it is important to enter a new step in the action of the Party, a decisive stage for the strengthening of its organisation and intervention and widening of its influence. The Central Committee decides to promote a wide debate and appeals for the undertaking in all Party organizations of meetings and plenary sessions of militants to analyze the situation created by the electoral results as well as the factors that may have led to it and that, safeguarding free expression of opinions and fraternal and rich debate, will already constitute an indispensable contribution for the mobilization of reflections, analyses and proposals, of initiatives, actions and measures that, right away, are indispensable for the strengthening of the party organization and the confident intervention of the Party in national life.

Taking into account the serious effects and repercussions of the 17th. of March results, but also corresponding to the needs of work, debate and reflection that the political calendar following the 16th. Congress did not permit to attend, the Central Committee announces the purpose of convoking, under the terms of article 30 of the constitution, a National Conference of the Party on the new political framework and the tasks for the strengthening of the intervention and influence of the Party, to be held in June and which will culminate a wide process of participation of the Party's militants and the expression of their opinions and contributions (be they in their organisms and organisations or other initiatives of reflection and debate).

In its next meeting on 13th. and 14th. April, exercising the powers conferred by the constitution, the Central Committee will debate and approve in a more precise way the objectives of the National Conference, as well as its rules of preparation, representation and functioning.

6.The Central Committee, in answer to the present situation, aiming the Party's strengthening and the materialization of its objectives indicates the realization of an integrated plan of lines of work, measures and initiatives.

With this in mind, assumes particular importance the contribution and engagement of the communists in the development of a great movement of resistance and mass struggle against the attack on the interests and rights of the workers in general, the public administration workers in particular and other strata of the population, the new surge in privatizations, the threat against the public system of social security and public services, namely in the fields of health and transportation, around just popular aspirations.

The Central Committee appeals to the workers and all democrats to turn the commemorations of the 28th anniversary of the 25th. April a great action in defense of the democratic regime and the values of April.

The Central Committee appeals to the workers, the youth, the retired and pensioners for a massive participation on 2002 May Day, fighting against the offensive of the capital and the right, claiming the defense of their rights and interests, the improvement in wages and retirement pay, the defense of social security, the progressive reduction of work to 35 hours a week, employment with rights and quality public services.

The Central Committee also appeals to the development of action in defense of peace and international solidarity that the present situation demands.

7.The Central Committee decides to promote a general movement for the necessary strengthening of the Party at all levels and fields of work, materializing the guidelines of the 16th. Congress, whose definition will be deepened in the next meeting of the Central Committee and for which the following lines of work and initiatives are already advanced:

- the materialization of the guidelines to strengthen the organization and intervention of the Party with the workers and the realization of a National Meeting on 19th. and 20th. October on this subject;

- the advancement of the preparation of the National Conference on PCP local government whose realization is set for the end of February 2003;

- the development and deepening of the work with the youth and support to the 7th. Congress of JCP scheduled for 2nd. And 3rd. November of this year;

- the definition of initiatives and debates to consider the development of the Party's work among the intellectuals and technical cadres and among the micro, small and medium sized entrepreneurs;

- the adoption of leadership, cadres and financial measures to answer the needs of the Party, within the present means;

- the realization of organisation assemblies with priority to grass-roots organizations, municipal and area organizations, giving responsibility to new cadres;

- the continuation of an active action of recruitment, within the on going campaign and a strong engagement in the integration of the new militants;

- the preparation of the 2002 "Avante!" Festival, which will take place on the 6th., 7th. and 8th. September, with the engagement of the cadres and militants, so as to ensure its success as an outstanding landmark of the political, cultural and artistic activity of the country.

8. The Central Committee considers it necessary to develop a political and ideological debate within the Party in order to overcome the difficulties and deficiencies that persist in the Party's activity, for a greater insertion of the Party's members in the Party's life and activity, to answer more efficaciously the new realities, respecting the opinions and contributions of each Party member, for strengthening internal democratic life.

The Central considers unacceptable and highly damaging to the party's activity, actions and interventions of Party members who, in clear violation of party rules and in breach of the most elementary bonds of solidarity, continue campaigns of ostensive offence to the guidelines and decisions of the party collective.

9. The Central committee also considers as an important line of work the need for a more active intervention in the battle of ideas, the affirmation of the values and ideals of the Party and the combat against the distortions and falsifications of the Party's life and activity. In the present situation, the engagement of the organisations in the diffusion and divulgation of the Party press., "O Avante" and "O Militante", should be considered irreplaceable for a real information of the activity, stands and guidelines of the Party and the very cohesion of the party's organisation.

10. The Central Committee stresses that the heritage of PCP's 81 years of life and struggle, the noble and valid causes which are a reason for its existence, the irreplaceable role it continues to play in Portuguese society and the importance of the affirmation of its values and ideals demand, that with the natural diversity of opinion, the solidarity and mutual help in the party collective be strengthened and give thrust to a large mobilization of energies, wills, capacities and contributions from the militants, converging on the crucial objective of overcoming the difficulties and strengthening the intervention and influence of the PCP in Portuguese society, in the struggle for the defense of the interests of the workers, the people and social progress.