Statement PCP Central Committee

On the October 1st elections

I - The electoral results and their significance

1. The most significant result of the October 1st general elections is the major defeat of the PSD, of its Government and of [outgoing Prime Minister] Cavaco Silva, which expresses a profound condemnation of the right-wing policies which they imposed upon the country.

From the numerical point of view, the PSD's defeat was materialized in the significant loss of votes (- 870 thousand) and percentage points (which dropped from 50 to 34%).

The political importance of this result, however, extends beyond its numerical significance: it puts an end to 16 consecutive years of PSD presence in the country's Governments and to eight years of arrogant and authoritarian PSD Governments with an absolute majority which deteriorated the country's social and economic situation, with a perversion of political democracy and the violation of the rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens and of their political and social organizations.

2. In parallel with the PSD's clear electoral defeat, the election results placed the right wing parties (PSD and CDS/PP) in a minority in the Assembly of the Republic [Parliament] (the sum total of their votes having dropped from 55 to 43%, and of their MPs from 140 to, possibly, 102 or 103). This represents an extremely relevant political fact, regardless of the CDS/PP's significant increase in their share of the vote (from 4.4 to 9%) and of their MPs (from 5 to 15). The CDS/PP's electoral growth occurred, essentially, as a result of a redistribution among the right-wing parties, of the radicalization of the right in a crisis context and, also, of the attraction exerted by the CDS/PP among social strata in desperate economic and social conditions which lent themselves to manipulation by a demagogic and populist rhetoric.

3. The PCP's Central Committee rejoices with the PSD's clear defeat and its removal from office, as well as with the right-wing's minority position in the Assembly of the Republic. From the beginning, these were presented as major political and electoral goals of the PCP and the CDU.

At the same time, it stresses the fact that the CDU's campaign contributed a great deal towards this outcome, both by exposing the results of the PSD Governments' policies and by calling attention to the inherent threats resulting from a renewed right-wing majority in Portugal's political and institutional life.

At the same time, the PCP's Central Committee strongly underlines that the PCP's persistent activity and participation in the social and political spheres and the decade-long struggles by the workers and by all social strata opposed to the PSD's policies were factors which contributed to the PSD's defeat and for the right-wing's minority position, and expressed an unequivocal will for change which cannot be defrauded.

4. The Socialist Party scored a major electoral success, achieving its largest ever share of the vote. It increased 907 thousand votes, in comparison with the 1991 elections, and its percentage of votes rose to nearly 44%. It now has a relative majority in Parliament with 112 or 113 MPs.

At the same time that the Central Committee rejoices with the PSD's removal from office, it stresses that the results achieved by the Socialist Party essentially result from the Portuguese people's clear yearning for change in the economic and social policies which have been implemented in our country. And it also stresses that the elections produced a numerical majority in the Assembly of the Republic (of 127 or 128 MPs elected by the Socialist Party and the CDU) which could and should represent the institutional basis for new policies in accordance with the great yearning for change which exists in the Portuguese society.

5. The Central Committee stresses that the other major political and electoral goal of the PCP and the CDU - to increase the CDU's share of the vote and the number of its MPs - was not achieved. The CDU's electoral result fell short of our expectations and, above all, of the objective requirements to ensure a real change of course in our country's political life.

The Central Committee stresses that the CDU's result - 8.6% and 15 MPs (-0.2% and two MPs less than in 1991, despite an increase in absolute terms of 2200 votes) - was achieved in the midst of an intense PSD-PS "bipolarization" propaganda, with a persistent and deplorable discrimination of the PCP and the CDU in some of the main mass media, which represented serious factors of perversion of the democratic nature of the electoral process.

6. It is legitimate to suppose that an electoral growth of the CDU was not materialized because many voters who politically supported the CDU were attracted by the mistaken idea that the only way to defeat the PSD would be to vote for the Socialist Party. The very results of the October 1st elections clearly show that an increase in the CDU's share of the vote would not only not jeopardize the right-wing defeat, and would always contribute to that outcome, as it would create much more favourable conditions for the implementation of new policies.

Although unsatisfactory, the results obtained reveal, both that the Broad Democratic Coalition [CDU] has resisted the adverse factors, maintaining, by and large, its positions, and also that the PCP is reaffirmed as a major national political force, a great left-wing force which looks to the future and is indispensable for a true alternative to the right-wing policies.

7. The Central Committee stresses the CDU's magificent electoral campaign and commends the Party members, its allies in the Broad Democratic Coalition, the candidates, all the activists which joined this important political battle and, in particular, JCP and all the young people who participated in the CDU Youth, contributing to give it strength, momentum and liveliness. This was one of the most significant and promising factors in this important political event.

Underlining the need to pursue and extend the analysis and reflection on the complex set of issues, factors and problems which most affected the Party' s electoral results, the Central Committee stresses that the CDU's result is a solid assertion of social and political awareness and an important expression of a current of opinion, of aspirations and of struggle which will significantly count in, and affect, all the developments in the country.

II - The great national yearning for change and the risk that it may be defrauded

1. The election results reflected a great national yearning for change and for a break with right-wing policies.

The PSD was defeated, not just because it was in power, alone for ten years and in coalitions for sixteen years, and saw its influence "eroded", but above all because, in the context of the strategic goal of restoring the power of the large monoply groups, it persistently struck out against the workers' interests, decreased labour's share of the national income, increased unemployment and job insecurity, attempted against the interests of pensioners and women, against the present and future of young people, of small and medium farmers, shopkeepers and industrialists. It was also defeated because it chose to fulfill the Maastricht criteria and cut social expenditures, worsening the problems in the education, health and housing sectors and generalizing clienteles, nepotism and corruption.

2. In the situation created after the elections it should be stressed that policies which continue the essence of the PSD's policies do not correspond to the idea of, and the yearnings for, change. The Socialist Party obtained its results by proclaiming its opposition to aspects of the PSD Government's policies, namely during rallies and in the wide audience mass media. It benefitted from a great national urge for a new policy. But at the same time, it included in its electoral programme guidelines that correspond to the interests of big business and which confirm that, in essential aspects, its policies coincide with PSD policies. This is particularly true in the economic sphere, in the social sphere, in the privatizations policies and in the so-called "nominal convergence" policies laid down in the Maastricht Treaty.

The PCP calls attention to the repeated statements by PS,PSD and CDS leaders, both before and after the elections, stating a readiness to reach agreements and understandings between them in what concerns the PS Government's future policies, as well as for a joint adoption of new Constitutional reviews and new electoral laws which, in accordance with previously stated purposes, would lead to a further perversion of the democratic regime.

3. The PCP will act within the new political context created by the election results of October 1st coherently and in accordance with the guidelines and the pledges which, in a very clear way, it undertook with the electorate.

The PCP will firmly fight against all projects, policies, guidelines and measures which represent a continuity with the right-wing policies that lay behind the PSD's defeat.

But the PCP will not forsake any possibility that may arise at an institutional level to influence the adoption of positive solutions or decisions and to condition and block any policies which defraud the yearnings for change expressed on October 1st.

It will not be the PCP's fault if the opportunity for a true change of course which was created by the will of the majority of the Portuguese people on October 1st does not materialize.

The risk of a great disillusionment and frustration which, as in the past, would be used by the right, lies in the continuity, at the hands of the Socialist Party, of policies which in the most decisive and determinant aspects are similar to those of the PSD and in a return to the understandings and consensus with the right that they would entail.

The PCP will continue, at all levels and in all spheres of the country's life, its struggle for a new policy. The PCP will put forth proposals and will carry out numerous initiatives favouring the solution of the country's problems and will call on the direct and decisive participation of the Portuguese people to defend their interests and in the struggle to satisfy their just demands and yearnings.

4. As a result of the elections, a new Government - a PS Government - will be formed. The PCP considers it necessary to draw the Portuguese people's attention to what it considers essential goals in order to put an end to the disastrous right-wing policies that were defeated in the ballot boxes and in order not to defraud the hopes for a democratic turnaround which could overcome the burdensome legacy of the PSD Government and ensure a new policy which can solve the serious problems that Portugal faces.

Essential goals of a truly democratic policy that will not carry on the right-wing policies which were condemned in the elections, are:

- the respect for the existing constitutional and democratic political system, namely in what concerns the separation and interdependence of the various institutions, the proportional representation system, democratic local government, regionalization, as well as the real respect for citizens' rights and freedoms and the equality of opportunities.

- an end to the on-going destructive processes and the recovery and modernization of the country's productive apparatus, namely in industry, agriculture and fisheries, with all its social consequences.

- a suspension of the privatizations and the defense of a State entrepreneurial sector in the banking industry and in other sectors of strategic importance for the country' s economic development.

- a new social policy which promotes employment and fights against unemployment, which provides answers to the working people's most pressing demands, which improves wages and pensions as an essential factor for social justice and to relaunch economic activities.

- the undertaking, by the State, to meet its responsibilities and obligations in matters of social security, health, education and housing.

- the firm defense of national interests, namely in industry, agriculture and fisheries, in the framework of European integration, demanding specific treatment, alleging national interests, demanding moratoria on deadlines and opposing the imposition by the European Union of policies which are harmful to the country's interests and of the damaging terms of the Maastricht Treaty, defending its review and subjecting its new ratification to a referendum.

III - Extending the Party's influence, and strengthening its organization.

1. The Central Committee analyzed the way in which the Party organizations corresponded to the demanding and difficult tasks which were faced in recent times and stresses that the strong engagement and militancy displayed by numerous Party members and organizations is highly significant.

Throughout the long pre-electoral campaign period and during the campaign itself Party organizations ensured an intense and diversified activity in different areas, made contact with many thousands of people, publicizing the Party's proposals and guidelines. The great success of the "Avante!" Festival deserves particular reference, in this context.

During this period contact was renewed with many Party members and many people joined the Party, in particular young people.

2. The enthusiastic and committed participation of young people in the many initiatives and, in particular, during the whole electoral campaign, is a very relevant fact which must desrve great attention by all Party and JCP organizations, so as to consolidate the links of these young people to the Party and the JCP.

The Central Committee considers it necessary to take steps so as to ensure the Party's greater organizational strength, which is an indispensible condition for the Party to maintain a high level of intervention and assertion in the various areas of the country's life.

In the short term, and with a view to strentghening the Party, various and diversified initiatives will be taken (branch meetings, plenaries and debates with supporters) to assess the new political context which emerged from the October 1st elections; there will be a determined action to bring to the Party many of those who were with us in this political battle; there will be a reactivation of the organizational campaign, in particular, to strengthen our work and influence among working people, as decided by the National Conference; and the fund-raising campaign, which must be ended in December, will continue.

3. Party members and organizations must strengthen their links with the masses, giving special attention to their problems and yearnings and giving momentum to the actions in defense of their interests.

The struggle of the working class and of all working people for better wages and living standards, for employment and social security and the dynamic participation of other social strata - farmers, fishermen, young people, women, pensioners, intellectuals and artists - will be decisive, not just to defend short-term goals, but also to impose a truly democratic turnaround in Government policies.

4. The Central Committee will in due time assess the calendar of activities for next year, in which the celebrations of the Party's 75th anniversary will have an extraordinary importance, asserting our project, proposals and guidelines.

5. The Central Committee will debate and define, in a future meeting, the PCP's guidelines in relation to the forthcoming Presidential elections, in accordance with the role that the PCP will undoubtedly be called upon to play in this important political and electoral battle.

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