A warm and fraternal greeting to all of you who are here supporting João Ferreira in his candidacy for President of the Republic.
Greetings to the workers and people of Alhos Vedros and the municipality of Moita who, in these very difficult, complex and demanding circumstances, once again said present in this important battle to place as President of the Republic someone who guarantees to defend, comply and enforce the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, who assumes the values it holds, who embodies its project, who wishes to resume the April paths that are enshrined in it.
Please allow me, of course, to greet comrade João Ferreira in particular, a candidate of all of us and of so many others who are not here today.
The elections for President of the Republic are particularly important, be it for the role he plays and for the functions that are entrusted to him, or for the national and international framework in which they are inserted.
The President of the Republic is not a vase to decorate the Portuguese legal system. The powers at his disposal, if used in the right direction, would allow, with his influence, to assure policies of a different course to serve the people and the country.
At the same time, his action, if determined and courageous, would prevent or delay measures that harm popular interests!
João Ferreira's candidacy values the sovereignty body of President of the Republic, be it for his life path - of seriousness, integrity and commitment to the cause of democracy, sovereignty and Peace - or for the values that he will seek to imprint in the entire electoral battle and that will assume, if elected, in the Presidency of the Republic.
A life path that speaks for itself. In which commitment, energy, initiative are always placed at the service of progress, the well-being of the population, of development.
A candidate and a candidacy that will seek to enhance the role and powers of the President of the Republic. That will give expression to the aspirations of the workers and people. That will defend sovereignty and national interests. That will assume the denunciation of injustices, exploitation, corruption and the class options that are at their root, and of favouring large economic and financial groups. That will denounce the different dimensions of the attack on the democratic regime promoted by the most reactionary sectors of Portuguese society, at the service of monopoly groups. That will assume the defence of another society, free from injustice and exploitation, affirming ideals, project and values, for a freer, fairer and more fraternal country. That will act with courage and confidence against fear and resignation.
The Portuguese people, as well as the peoples of the whole world, are faced with important challenges. Faced with the epidemic, involved as extras in a script of a film of fiction, in which to the spread of the disease are added measures to restrict movement and a long period of lockdown of the workers and people who are now the main victims of its consequences.
Under the pretext of the epidemic, big capital resorted to a vast operation of attack on wages and rights, to try to limit freedoms, to deteriorate public services, to devalue Culture!
It is the duty of the nation’s highest magistrate to question, demand measures to protect the weakest and most vulnerable, defend with all might the fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees.
One of these days, under the pretext of the rise of cases of infected people, the voices of those who demand more restrictions on freedoms, more cuts of rights and even more muscular measures are again raised, exchanging education for repression.
The government today announced a set of measures that seem disproportionate and beyond what is strictly necessary in the fight of public health against the Covid-19 epidemic.
This epidemic, as the PCP has reiterated over the months, poses health, economic and social problems that are not solved by limiting rights and creating climates of fear.
The regulatory measures that the health situation requires, at every moment, must always be justified, with clear application and without ground for arbitrariness and abuse of power, running the risk of not being understood and accepted but, on the contrary, rejected by the populations. .
In addition to the unclear terms that the legislation on the use of masks has been raising, what happened yesterday at the main exits of the city of Lisbon (including the bridges over the Tagus) with the imposition of traffic barriers when returning home after a day of work, putting many tens of thousands of people, including children, several hours locked in cars and buses in endless queues, is unacceptable. A baseless and disproportionate action, without any practical effect in fighting the epidemic, but deeply penalising the life of the population.
We would like to reaffirm here the Party's position. In the face of the epidemic, what is needed is to strengthen the NHS, ensure individual protection, educate on protection; boost economic, social, cultural and sporting activities; exercise political and social rights and fight fear and its propagandists.
For the PCP, what is essential is that the necessary and appropriate measures are adopted to face the problems, including those of public health, because it is not enough to invoke the seriousness of the situation, as the government does, it is necessary to match words with actions.
For the PCP, the priority in the fight against Covid-19 is the reinforcement of the National Health Service, with the urgent reinforcement of the lacking professionals, the increase in the number of hospital beds, namely intensive care beds, normalising the functioning of primary healthcare through the recruitment of means and family nurses and the expansion of the public health structure, a fundamental tool for detecting outbreaks and interrupting chains of infection.
Political options that should have been reflected in the State Budget for 2021, as well as others to respond to the serious problems facing the country.
The government chose a different path. The path to address the deficit of public accounts rather than the needs of the workers and people. The path of benefits for big capital rather than the answer to structural problems. The path of blind obedience to the impositions of the European Union than that of defending national interests.
The path that the PCP seeks to reverse by abstaining in general on the vote on the Budget proposal presented by the government and by presenting a set of proposals that address these problems and responses.
PCP's final decision on the State Budget will depend not on the appeals or the blackmail they exert on us, wherever they come from, including from the current President of the Republic, that want to bind us to a budget, regardless of its contents, in the name of a supposed stability.
The stability that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa should be concerned with is the stability in employment that does not exist and which the use of the epidemic has placed further away. It is the stability of young people drowned in the uncertainty of the present and the future. It is the stability in the life of everyone, questioned by the options that the government does not seem to want to give up.
PCP’s final vote on the State Budget for 2021 therefore depends on the guarantee or lack of it, in relation to this social stability, in relation to the lives of millions of Portuguese.
Comrade João Ferreira's candidacy, based on values, anchored in constitutional principles, emerging from the voice of those who struggle and do not resign themselves, is a necessary, indispensable, irreplaceable candidacy.
A candidacy that is proud of its origin and of the connection to this collective that, being hundred years old in our country, is heir to the secular struggles of humanity for emancipation and social transformation!
But a candidacy that, due to the project it carries, assumes itself as that of democrats, of all those who look at the country's problems knowing that there are ways to face them.
The candidacy of all who see this path in the valorisation of work and workers, in the fair distribution of wealth, in the defence of public services and of the social functions of the State, in the guarantee of territorial cohesion, in the defence of the environment and ecosystems, in combating all discrimination.
This is the candidacy that, particularly in the current circumstances, requires the commitment of the party collective, the intervention, the initiative and the action of every militant in promoting a strong, confident and dynamic campaign of clarification and contact with the workers and the people, denouncing their problems and affirming their rights and aspirations, that assumes the objective of mobilising them for support and vote.
This is the moment to say present, for all those who are concerned about the course of the country, with the options of the dominant classes and with growing injustices, of all those who take up the defence of the liberating and emancipatory project of April. This is the moment for democrats and patriots, with their committed support to this candidacy, to assume a position of commitment to the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and to a Portugal with a future.