Speech by Paula Santos, Leader of the Parliamentary Group and Member of the Political Committee of the PCP’s Central Committee, Presentation of the PCP’s Electoral Programme

An electoral programme that meets the most pressing interests and creates the economic and social bases to ensure the country's future

An electoral programme that meets the most pressing interests and creates the economic and social bases to ensure the country's future

Comrades and friends,

We are having legislative elections because the government with an absolute majority of the PS fell. Apart from the judicial inquiry invoked, the Government fell because it did not respond to the problems that affect the lives of the workers, the people, and the country.

Low wages and pensions, increased cost of living, brutal increase in housing rents and bank loan payments, deterioration of public services: this is the legacy of the Government with an absolute majority of the PS.

Contrary to what the propaganda says, the Portuguese feel every day that their lives are worse. No matter how hard it tries, the PS cannot hide its responsibility for the deterioration of the living conditions of the workers and people, a responsibility shared with PSD, CDS, Liberal Initiative and Chega.

The country's structural problems and strategic deficits – productive, energy and demographic – are a portrait of the consequences of the right-wing policy pursued by those parties as a whole. A policy that they aim to intensify after having dragged the country into a situation of domination of economic power over all spheres of national life, with a deeply weakened productive apparatus, with insufficient public investment, deprived of instruments for its sovereign development, subjected to dictates and criteria of the Euro and the European Union, damaging national independence and the living conditions of the workers and people.

Right-wing policy that no populist propaganda, nor any false bipolarisation operation between “left” and “right”, can deceive.

Right-wing policy that, giving expression to the nature and functioning of capitalism and the promiscuity and subordination of political power to economic power, is at the root of the corruption that must be fought without any hesitation.

Now that the elections are approaching, PS and PSD are multiplying their promises. Let there be no illusions! Neither PS, nor PSD and CDS will now do what they didn't do before.

Much less IL or CH, whose main leaders came from the PSD and CDS where they applauded the troika policy, the cuts in wages, pensions and rights, the policy of privatisation of EDP, CTT and ANA-Aeroportos.

Life has proven that the absolute majority of the PS meant instability and uncertainty in people's lives and confirmed the objective convergence of the PS with PSD, CDS, Chega and IL on essential issues that serve the interests of big capital.

It is not the PS that stands up to right-wing policies nor to the reactionary forces and their projects.

The main issue in the coming legislative elections is the strengthening of the PCP and the CDU, to break with right-wing policies and pave the way for an alternative policy capable of ensuring the solutions that the country needs.

The country is not doomed to the path of decline and impoverishment that PS, PSD and CDS have led it to, and that IL and CH intend to deepen.

Portugal needs, and the PCP proposes, to change its policy, it needs an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy that complies with the Constitution and resumes the values and achievements of April, that responds to the most immediate and pressing interests of the Portuguese, that overcomes bottlenecks and deficits and creates the economic and social foundations to ensure a future of dignity, harmony and development.

An alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy that assumes the defence of national interests, sovereignty, that conceives democracy in its inseparable political, economic, social and cultural dimensions and its full materialisation under conditions of equality for all citizens.

The PCP's electoral programme, which we present today, proposes the construction of this patriotic and left-wing alternative policy.

Comrades and friends,

The country needs a policy based on economic development that assumes as its central objectives full employment and the valorisation of work, economic growth and the development of national production, as an engine of growth and the use of national capabilities and resources.

A policy that has as strategic options: the recovery by the State of political command of the economy, democratic planning of development, the promotion of national production and the overcoming of the main structural deficits, and the defence and dynamization of the internal market.

The implementation of this development policy requires concrete expression with:

  • A fair fiscal policy and sustainable public debt, with a budgetary policy of rigour and discipline in the assessment of public expenditure, prioritizing public investment, promoting employment and economic growth and thereby reducing the weight of debt in GDP, fiscal justice, easing taxation on labour income and MSMEs and duly taxing the highest incomes, assets and profits, combating tax fraud and evasion;
  • A strong public investment that redirects investment according to the country's development needs, and in banks for development, based on public control of commercial banking and the strategic role of Caixa Geral de Depósitos;
  • The improvement of energy efficiency and sovereignty, promoting its rationality;
  • A digital transition that respects citizens' rights, defends national sovereignty and independence, safeguards rights;
  • A transport and communications policy that promotes the use of public transport throughout the territory;
  • An environmental policy that harmonises development and nature, preserves the balance of nature and ecological systems, defends biodiversity, contributes to preventing and mitigating the effects of climate change and guarantees the democratisation of its access and enjoyment;
  • A regional development based on a policy that promotes territorial cohesion, fights asymmetries, depopulation and desertification, which implements regionalisation and values democratic local government.

The country needs to move forward with April and the strength of workers. The PCP proposes valuing workers and improving living and working conditions.

The goals of a policy to value work and workers are:

  • The creation of jobs with rights and the hiring of workers lacking in public services;
  • The general increase in wages and the valorisation of the careers and professions of all workers in the private and public sectors;
  • Combating precariousness and guaranteeing job stability;
  • The reduction and regulation of working hours;
  • Placing science and technology at the service of the workers and the country, reverting in their favour the gains resulting from increased social productivity of work, combating its appropriation by capital with the aim of increasing exploitation
  • The defence of individual and collective rights, labour and union rights;
  • Equality at work and non-discrimination;
  • The improvement of working conditions and preventing occupational diseases and labour accidents.

The country needs to improve the quality of life by strengthening public healthcare services. To ensure a public, universal, general and free NHS, the PCP proposes:

  • The valorisation of healthcare professionals and their work, their careers and pay, their working conditions;
  • Strengthening financial and technical resources to improve working conditions and the provision of healthcare;
  • A stronger NHS, with better organisation and management of healthcare units, with increased coverage of primary health care and hospital care, lower medication costs;
  • Stop the policy of privatisation and diversion of resources to private groups, which profit from the disease business, mobilising these resources to reinforce the NHS's response capacity.

The country needs more and better Social Security for all generations. The Public Social Security System, universal and solidary, is the solution for social protection in childhood, old age, disability, and the fight against poverty and exclusion. The PCP proposes:

  • The valorisation of long contributory careers and the application of specific early retirement regimes without penalisations in functions and sectors of activity in risky or difficult conditions;
  • Aging with rights and quality of life, with the guarantee of a decent pension and the enhancement of the purchasing power of pensioners and better social benefits;
  • The implementation of the rights of people with disabilities;
  • The development of a public network of social facilities and services;
  • The fight against poverty and impoverishment.

The country needs and the PCP proposes a housing policy that ensures the right to a decent life:

  • With public investment in expanding the supply of public housing and housing at controlled costs, for different segments of the population;
  • By fighting real estate speculation and the power of large real estate funds, large real estate owners and banks;
  • By promoting rentals and the protection of rented housing, putting an end to the eviction law, ensuring greater stability in renting and limiting the increase in rents;
  • Protection of the homes owned by families who took out housing credit, putting banking profits to support the increase in interest rates.

The country needs to invest in education, science and culture and value physical education and sport. The PCP proposes:

  • A public, free, quality school, inclusive for all, that guarantees the integral education of the individual and the individual and collective emancipation of youth;
  • The valorisation and strengthening of Higher Education and the National Scientific and Technological System;
  • The creation of the Public Culture Service, ensuring the constitutional aim of democratising access to culture;
  • Support and valorisation of the Popular Associative Movement;
  • A physical education and sports policy that materialises the right to sport for everyone.

The country needs to promote the rights of children and parents, ensuring the full realisation of all children and young people and conditions so that they can socialize, play and learn. The PCP proposes:

  • The creation of a public daycare network, universal, free and integrated into the educational system;
  • The universalisation of family and prenatal benefits, with the valorisation of their amounts;
  • Strengthening local early childhood intervention teams;
  • Access to maternal and child healthcare.

On the 50 years of the Revolution, affirming democracy and complying with the Constitution requires the defence of the democratic regime, combating constitutional amendment initiatives that want to settle accounts with April and subvert its content; involves the demand for respect for freedoms and the guarantee of political, economic, social and cultural rights.

It also requires:

  • The defence of pluralistic media, free from interference from economic and political power;
  • Support for Portuguese communities abroad;
  • Guaranteeing transversal policies that respond to the needs and wishes of young people;
  • Women's equality and rights, at work, in the family and in life;
  • Fighting inequalities and discrimination, racism and xenophobia, defending and promoting the social and labour rights of immigrants and their integration into Portuguese society;
  • Access to democratic and accessible justice;
  • A prison system that fulfils its resocialising mission;
  • The fight against corruption and economic and financial criminality;
  • A policy of national defence and armed forces serving national interests and valuing professionals in their careers and rights;
  • A policy of security forces and services to serve the citizens, with increased investment in local policing and the valorisation of its professionals;
  • A new and effective Civil Protection System that guarantees adequate funding for fire brigades and the socio-professional rights of firefighters.

Moving forward with April and complying with the Constitution requires a diversified foreign policy, based on national sovereignty, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, respect for the right of peoples to self-determination and the development of peace, peaceful resolution of conflicts, friendship and cooperation with the peoples of the world.

Comrades and friends,

The workers and the country need the alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy that the PCP proposes. The programme that the PCP presents today is fair, necessary and possible to implement. The country has the resources to achieve it, and this requires 5 conditions:

  • An economic policy redirected towards economic growth and full employment, including a budgetary policy that counters the impositions of the Euro and the EU;
  • A fiscal justice policy that increases State revenues, unburdening taxation on labour income and effectively taxing profits made in the country, putting an end to the loss of tax revenue to tax havens and the set of tax benefits and exemptions for big companies;
  • The end of the transfer of public resources to economic groups, namely assured income schemes, at the expense of the public treasury and consumers; to Public Private Partnerships; and reversing the increase in transfer of resources from the NHS to disease business economic groups;
  • Improving efficiency in public spending, through the internalisation of services in the Public Administration or the recovery of concessions granted to private parties;
  • Combating the bleeding of national resources abroad resulting from privatisations, free movement of capital and the country's external dependence.

Holding early elections for the Assembly of the Republic constitutes an opportunity for the workers and people to decide on their future and the future of the country.

It was the PCP and the CDU who were present at all times to stop the onslaught against the workers. Just as it was with the PCP and the CDU that workers, pensioners, women and young people counted on achievements and advances in their lives.

The strengthening of the PCP and the CDU is a condition for resuming the values and achievements of April in the future of Portugal. It is the most solid guarantee of upholding the interests of the workers and people and implementing a policy capable of providing a solution to the country's problems, a patriotic and left-wing policy.

Strengthening the PCP and CDU is a guarantee of fighting injustices and inequalities and building a better life.