Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary of the PCP, RALLY «STRUGGLE AND CONFIDENCE, FOR PORTUGAL WITH A FUTURE»

The PCP does not give up struggling for a policy that responds, in fact, to the rights of the workers and people

The PCP does not give up struggling for a policy that responds, in fact, to the rights of the workers and people

We have just come out of an important electoral battle for the Assembly of the Republic. A battle which resulted in a new advance in the political and electoral strengthening of CDU, and a defeat for the PSD/CDS coalition with the loss of its absolute majority.

An unquestionable advance of the CDU, here in Oporto, meant the election of one more MP - a major victory - which will mean, we are certain, a substantial strengthening of our intervention in defence of the workers and the people of this district, but also of our people and the country.

Another decisive step forward that was only made possible due to the valuable contribution of our candidates, militants of the PCP, Ecologist Party "The Greens", Democratic Intervention, thousands of independent persons who stand with us in this great Broad Democratic Coalition -CDU-, but also the JCP and the CDU Youth.

From this rostrum we salute you all. A salutation extended to the workers and population of the district of Oporto and to every man and woman who, in any way, expressed their support for the CDU and gave it their vote.

CDU’s result - translated in the election of 17 MPs, an electoral result of 8.27% and obtaining 444,319 votes - is the best result that the Broad Democratic Coalition - CDU-achieved since 1999, confirming the growing support and trust of the workers and the people in CDU.

A result which, by its positive trend, is not dependent on any manoeuvre of momentary media favouritism, but founded on a path of intervention to defend the interests of the workers and the people and with a remarkable election campaign with great popular participation that we held here in Oporto and throughout the country.

This was a result built with militant blow by blow, winning point by point, vote by vote, against a globally discriminatory media framework, and under the fire of an intense ideological campaign and electoral conditioning, blackmail and fear, which today continues in a concerted and vile manner.
With the tiniest prospect of a change in their hegemonic control given the election results, here they are invoking all the ghosts and rummaging the chests of the most basic anti-communism for an entire arsenal of lies and falsifications about the PCP and its honourable and unparalleled lifetime course in defence of freedoms, democracy, workers, people and country.

We got where we got - a positive result translated in more votes, greater electoral expression and more MPs, because we are a great Party and CDU is a great force capable of, with the action of its great militant and activist collective, breaking the siege of deliberate omissions, intentional dilution of its message, constant hammering of clichés, deliberate and methodically thought stigmatization, of polarization. We got where we got because we carry with us an indelible heritage of truth and seriousness, a recognized path of connection with the workers and popular rooting built along years of coherent intervention to uphold their interests and aspirations.

This, as we all know, was not an easy battle for CDU which, in a consistent manner, battles for a rupture with the right-wing policy and for the affirmation of a patriotic and left-wing political alternative and having to rely solely on its own strength.

But if the continuation of CDU's electoral progress is a significant fact that nothing can deny, the other fact, and with immediate impact on the evolution of the national situation, is the change that placed in minority the coalition of parties that supported the previous government .

Yes, a great and significant result of these elections is this important change with the resulting loss of political legitimacy to form a government by the previous PSD/CDS majority. This is, undoubtedly, the most notable fact of the new political reality to come out of these elections, which represents an effective defeat of the PSD/CDS coalition. A defeat that cannot be concealed by fanciful constructions of supposed winners, created by them and by the commentators on duty and at the service of the policy that serves big business and its economic groups.

The result obtained by the PSD/CDS coalition – representing their second-lowest vote ever and the loss of over 700 000 votes. A defeat of the PSD/CDS coalition with the loss of its absolute majority and conditions to continue, on its own, its policy and its offensive against the interests and living conditions of the workers and the people, by governing the country.

The clear defeat of PSD, CDS and their coalition is inseparable from the struggle and combat that the workers and the people waged against the policy of economic decline and social regression.
And this is a victory of the great majority of our people and that cannot be defrauded. PSD and CDS have no conditions today, without the connivance of others, to impose the continuation of their policy of ruin and national impoverishment.

At this point and in this situation dictated by the election results, once again we reaffirm that the MPs elected by CDU, come what may, whatever happens, will always count for the defence of the interests of the workers, the people and the country.

Only two weeks have gone by since the elections. But the more we move away from that day and analyse the evolution of the political situation, the more anchored is our conviction that we made the right decisions imposed by the new post-election reality, and clearer becomes the importance of our decisive intervention in the development of events, in order to prevent an arbitrary renewal of the current government, taken as granted on the election evening.

First of all by identifying the real losers of the election process - PSD and CDS - with the loss of their absolute majority and a clear statement that such a change would, inevitably, have to have consequences both at the political level or at the institutional level, contradicting and rebutting, quite rightly, hasty excuses to transform a clear defeat of the ruling parties into a victory.

In fact, the Portuguese people had not only defeated the aims of PSD/CDS of achieving an absolute majority, but voted for a different policy.

But also with the firm denunciation of the decision and stand taken by the President of the Republic and his rush to give cover, without hearing the parties in the Assembly, to the aims of the PSD/CDS coalition and under the cover of a great manipulating campaign of the results, namely CDU’s election result, that the commentators on duty and at the service of the right-wing policy and of the big interests it serves, want to impose at all costs.

A problem that becomes, we have to say, increasingly serious and with alarming consequences for the Portuguese democracy, this almost absolute dominance of the big interests and big business and their harbingers in the media system, where the plurality of opinion is being stamped out and impartiality in ideological and political comment is a rarity.

The hogwash by some that we see, hear and read, the arrogant tone that some express with their tirades against the PCP and the unbridled rage of others, before the mere possibility that the new

Assembly could bring a government other than that of PSD/CDS, clearly reveal how far the dominant interests in their anti-democratic and destabilizing campaign intend to go.

They do not want to accept this simple reality and in everybody’s view: the majority became a minority and the reality of today is no longer that of yesterday.

To these forces, the interests of big business they represent, democracy is a good thing if it ensures their monopoly of power and serves their conveniences. The opposite is a problem, a bore, a reality that cannot be accepted or recognized.

In this case, Parliament is no longer the institution that represents all the Portuguese and, as they love to claim, the soul of democracy. When the situation does not serve them, there they are airing all their cheap junk, the forged argument of a coup, a return of the 1974 revolutionary process, parties outside the regime, the return of bankruptcy and other absurdities they should be ashamed of.

Arguments to prove that the votes which serve their claims are first class votes, the others are second class.

Those who before ranted abundantly and lamented that the PCP did not leave the comfort of a protest Party, which we never were, to try to show the futility of voting PCP, are now crying wolf, in a catastrophic scenario, engaged in a shameless campaign in an attempt to exclude that which is the great force of combat against right-wing policies, the great force that assumes the need for a rupture, paving the way for a patriotic and left-wing alternative that the country needs.

The Portuguese are right to be wary of so much drama and blackmail!

They tried everything and try to mitigate the strong penalisation imposed by the Portuguese on the PSD/CDS coalition and on a policy that razed the rights and workers' and people’s incomes, destroyed productive capacity, abandoned public services, indebted the country, handed resources and assets of the Portuguese people to big business, sacrificed our sovereignty, defied the Constitution and jeopardised the future of Portugal.

Just like the President of the Republic tried to ignore the political condemnation of the parties of the PSD/CDS coalition expressed in the election results, implicated as he is with the right-wing policy and in order to guarantee and ensure the continuation of the policy of national disaster of recent years.
They tried to conceal all this to which the Portuguese people said enough!

As they continue to say enough of this deceptive propaganda fabrications of "Wonder Country" that belies reality. The announced and promised “Wonder Country" came to light the day after the elections in Unicer and Somague, with hundreds of redundancies. In the demands expressed in the recent report of the European Union for new tax increases, in the IMF report which confirms, after trying to "play dead" in these pre-election months, that the much-touted recovery does not take off and that the Country will grow less until 2020. That this will be another lost decade to add to the previous. The "Wonder Country" of unacceptable increases in power bills, already announced with the consequences that the poorer people of Oporto are well aware of. The "Wonder Country" of two million eight hundred thousand Portuguese at risk of poverty that INE [National Bureau of Statistics] revealed a few days ago!

With this bitter reality of the PSD/CDS governance, its huge defeat and to give sense to the majority wish of the Portuguese people that the PCP made it clear that it would intervene in this process to defeat any aim to form a PSD/CDS government, but also any initiative that aims at preventing the formation of a different governing solution.

The possibility that results from the new composition of the Assembly of the Republic, now with PSD and CDS in minority and which would be unacceptable to waste.

But if the first and immediate goal was, and is, to defeat any attempt to form a new PSD/CDS government to enforce the will of the majority of the Portuguese people, the PCP has not resigned nor abdicates to fight for a policy that addresses, de facto, the rights of the workers and the people, the rise of their living conditions, the fight against social injustice and inequalities, the necessary economic growth and an effective employment policy.

This means also giving expression to the popular will, that the solutions to be considered are not confined to the government's composition, but involve the need for a policy of defence of employment, wages, pensions, access to health and education, development and sovereignty.

A policy to answer the concerns and needs of the workers, the people and the Country. A policy that assumes and implements:

The valorisation of wages, namely the increase of the National Minimum Wage to 600 euros at the beginning of 2016, and the real value of pensions;
the fight against precariousness, particularly with changes to labour laws and the adoption of a National Plan to Combat Precariousness;
the restoration of rights in labour legislation, namely the valorisation of collective bargaining;
the restoration of wages, pensions, holidays and other rights which were cut, including pension supplements;
a fair fiscal policy that taxes strongly the economic and financial groups and relieves taxes on workers, retirees and pensioners, micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs and the people;
the strengthening and diversification of the financing of Social Security and the guarantee of social aid, namely child allowance, unemployment benefits and social unemployment benefit;
the hiring of doctors, family nurses and other professionals for the NHS, reinstatement of transport to non-emergency patients and the elimination of user fees;
the reversal of the processes of concession, sub-concession and privatization, particularly of transport companies;
the repeal of the recent amendment to the Act of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy.

This policy that, for its implementation and consolidation, involves taking into account essential tools to guarantee it, namely measures to ensure public control of strategic sectors, the indispensable renegotiation of the debt as a condition for the country's development or the answer to other external constraints.

It is common knowledge that the starting points are very different among the different political forces, namely the fact that PS’s programme that does not assume the necessary rupture with the right-wing policy, the PCP does not evade the difficulties, however, does not give up continuing with seriousness, until where possible, to study in concrete the political content that we consider essential for the change that the country needs.

A policy for what and for whom, that is the question that is posed and the answer to which we will not leave in the hands of others. We will not fail to ensure political solutions capable of meeting the interests of the workers and the people, always sticking to the commitments we made in the election campaign.

Commitments that will be presented in the new Assembly of the Republic with the decision already taken to immediately table a set of legislative initiatives and proposals which primarily meet the need for valorisation of wages and pensions, namely the national minimum wage, combat precariousness, restore income and rights which were cut, among others, initiatives to reverse the unfair fiscal policy of these years of SGP and Troika.

But whatever the outcome of the evolution of the ongoing meetings, one thing is certain, nothing prevents PS from forming government and taking office.

Within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic and taking into account the correlation of forces in the Assembly, the PS will only not form government if it does not want to.

Even in a context where PS insists in its programme and it is not possible, and, in fact, it is not easy to find a convergence on a government programme, even then one cannot conclude that the solution lies in a PSD/CDS government.

Even in these circumstances there remains scope for governing solutions that do not enable PSD and CDS to continue their policy of national ruin.

The problem is whether PS chooses between endorsing and supporting the formation of a PSD/CDS government or taking the initiative to form a government which has guaranteed conditions to be formed and take office.

Some might consider strange this statement with PS not having the majority of votes in the Assembly, others in a way that is not innocent, posing as zealous defenders of our autonomy and party independence, usually the same who try everything to reappoint the PSD/CDS government coalition, use opportunity to raise the scare of inconsistency of the PCP with the clear aim of derailing such a solution. Who would say: such good friends and concerned with the PCP.

These masters of cynicism and twisted comment do not deserve an answer, we know what they want, but to those who want to see the PSD/CDS government out of their lives, and they are the vast majority of those who voted on October 4, we would like to tell them that there is nothing strange about this possibility in view of the constitutional principles governing the formation of the government.

The Constitution does not impose the choice of a prime minister from among the leaders of the most voted party or coalition. And no one mortgages, obligatorily, their independence in this process.
The government must be found within the framework of the party and parliamentary system as imposed by the Constitution.

They have been peddling the misconception that these elections were to choose a Prime Minister, when the elections were in fact to elect, not just one person, but 230 MPs. And these 230 decide the formation of government, as we always said during the election campaign. That is, what really counts and determines solutions for governing are the majorities that are formed in the Assembly and support a government and not the party with the most votes.

A minority government can exist and survive if it does not have the majority opposition of MPs in the Assembly. A situation, by the way, which is not unprecedented in the formation of governments in the past.

On the other hand, the Constitution does not require the adoption of the Government Programme, which is not even voted nor be changed by the Assembly. What can be voted is a motion of rejection. A motion to be effective and have consequences has to be approved by an absolute majority of MPs that PSD and CDS do not have. The government is also not obliged to table a vote of confidence.

On our part, and materializing the struggle over these years that had the objective of defeating and bringing down the PSD/CDS government, we have already stated: we will only table a motion of rejection of the government made up of these parties, if it is presented to the Assembly.
The PS is therefore free to take the initiative to form a government and propose it to the President of the Republic.

But whatever the circumstances and evolution of the situation there is one thing the Portuguese can take for granted: with full independence, the votes of PCP’s MPs will contribute always to all measures that are useful to the workers, the people and the Country and will oppose everything that means more exploitation, impoverishment, social injustice and national decline.

From this rostrum we declare to all workers who experience difficult situations that they can rely on our intervention to defend their rights and living conditions. It will be so to defend their general interests. It will be so to defend their concrete interests.

The times ahead are demanding times, but also of confidence in the struggle of many millions of Portuguese. A struggle that has made possible important claims of the workers, as was well clear in the victory achieved in the restoration of the 35 hour-week by Local Government workers, following the recent decision of the Constitutional Court. More than two years of struggle, which resulted in a PSD/CDS government defeat and also their aim to call into question the autonomy of Local Government?

This struggle which brought us here and was able to place PSD and CDS in minority and punish them. This struggle which will not fail and will be present while policies of exploitation and impoverishment, serious economic problems and present social ills persist, and unemployment, precariousness, theft of wages, labour and social rights continue. This struggle of the working class, the workers and the people which played, and plays, a central role in the resistance to the offensive of big business and the political power at its service, and ensures the central goal of defeat of right-wing policies and the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy. This fight which is necessary to be strengthened and developed to face the employers' offensive and ensure the claims to guarantee a better life!

This struggle which had the force and the role of the broad united labour movement, the CGTP-IN, the great trade union central of the Portuguese workers, whom we salute from here as it marks its 45th anniversary.

In these times of injustice and uncertainty, the workers, the youth, the Portuguese people, can count on the Portuguese Communist Party, knowing that we will give renewed strength to the prospect of a Portugal with a future!

Those hiding, silencing and omitting the solutions we have and defend for the country, they are mistaken if they think they can deter and discourage us in the combat we are waging for the affirmation and demand for an alternative policy, this necessary and irreplaceable force.

They will not discourage us, but rather stimulate us to give more strength to our firm determination to wage this combat!

Here we have a new battle - the elections for the Presidency of the Republic in 2016!

Here we had Edgar Silva - our candidate, the candidate of those who fight to defend the democratic regime enshrined in the Constitution, who fight for a Portugal with a future - the Portugal of April values - the values of freedom, democracy, equality and social justice, development, political participation, independence and national sovereignty.

This new battle we have ahead is not just any battle!

This is an election battle whose outcome, by what it implies in the options and guidelines of the sovereignty body President of the Republic, will exercise a significant influence on the evolution of the country's situation and in the creation, or not, of conditions to defend the April values, and the Constitution, and for the assertion of a sovereign and independent Portugal.

Life has shown what meant these years of submission of right-wing policy by Cavaco Silva and his role as President of the Republic, in defence of the great interests and their hegemony over the Portuguese society. We have seen very well that at times when it was necessary to take the option in defence of the people – having to face a powerful offensive against their fundamental interests and their living conditions – he always took the side of the executioners!

Hence, a battle that cannot be underestimated!

The way the candidacy of Edgar Silva was received among the workers and the people, and in the country, expresses well the recognition of its importance in the combat we wage for a rupture and a much needed political change in Portuguese society, but also the trust deposited on a candidate who has a heritage of struggle and concrete action, taken daily, in defence of workers' interests, their struggle and their rights, of the most vulnerable and those who suffer most!

The trust in a candidate who has long been, and continues to be, in all decisive struggles and moments, in a dedicated and determined manner, defending the fundamental interests of our people and their living conditions.

The situation that the country is facing and the dangers that are there show how necessary and imperative is this candidacy of Edgar Silva for the Presidency of the Republic.
A candidacy that we want strong and determined, able to go as far as possible in support and votes if that is what our people wishes.

We are sure that no other candidacy, no other candidate interprets, like the candidacy of Edgar Silva, the struggle of those who are fighting for a new course for the country.

The moment when the Portuguese will be called to choose the future President of the Republic approaches very quickly.

Time flies and we need to get engage in yet another elections, with the same enthusiasm and the same dedication as the campaign which has now ended!

This is already the time to launch a strong movement supporting the candidacy of Edgar Silva and we are confident that this is candidacy will gather wide popular support.

We have many battles ahead. Lots to do in explaining, mobilizing, in affirming the distinctive nature of our candidacy - the candidacy of Edgar Silva.

This is a combat that demands from us, from now on, and as the context of the various candidacies clarifies, a growing commitment to give our candidacy, the candidacy of comrade Edgar Silva, the dynamics, strength, the mass expression to boost as a great candidacy of those who do not yield or capitulate before the aims and blackmail of big interests, and powerful, and their project of exploitation of workers and peoples.

We are confident and certain that we are in a position to wage yet another important combat.

We have confidence in the intervention and capacity of our party collective and in all democrats who stand by us in this electoral battle and in the various fronts on which we fight.

Portugal can advance by supporting this candidacy - the candidacy Edgar Silva - the candidacy of those who do not accept Portugal of social inequalities and injustices and who struggle and aspire for the materialization in Portugal of a democracy at the same time political, economic, social and cultural.

From here we tell and call on the workers and the Portuguese people that we are counting on their support, from here we guarantee that they can also count on this force of struggle, which continues to hold high the banner of hope and confidence for a better life for the Portuguese!

We live in times that call for much ideological firmness, much strength, revolutionary availability, a lot of organizational skills and a strong Communist Party, determined and confident.

Big and demanding are the tasks that the current situation poses to the PCP, to this necessary and indispensable Party, to change the course of the country. A necessary and indispensable Party that needs to be strengthened, because on its strengthening depends the guarantee of defence of the best interests of the workers and people, and the success of building in Portugal a political alternative and a patriotic and left-wing policy at the service of the people, workers and of the country.

A strengthening that has in the campaign, which has just been launched, specific objectives of implementing the Resolution "More organisation, more intervention, more influence - a stronger PCP" to be carried out until the end of 2016.

In such a difficult time in the life of our people, this strengthening at all levels is essential, along with a diverse intervention and a prompt political initiative, namely in the Assembly, the development of mass struggle and the preparation of presidential elections..

Essential because the PCP is decisive in defence of the democratic regime, freedom and democracy, as a Party guarantor of national sovereignty and independence - yes, without sovereignty there is no democracy - as Party of defence of rights and living conditions, prepared and ready to boost the resistance and fight, prepared and ready to pursue a remarkable and unparalleled work in local government at the service of people, prepared and ready for active intervention in the Assembly and in government to build a Portugal with a future.

We have a Party like no other, with a history, force, values and unparalleled project. A Party that is steadfast in the ideal that guides us. A Party that affirms and reaffirms its nature and communist identity in materializing a patriotic and left-wing policy, in rupture with the right-wing policy for an advanced democracy, for a new society, free from exploitation and oppression – for socialism and communism.