Speech by Paulo Raimundo, General Secretary of the PCP, Presentation of PCP’s Electoral Programme

PCP’s Electoral Programme: Fair, necessary and urgent

PCP’s Electoral Programme: Fair, necessary and urgent

Comrades and friends,

A first greeting to all those present, in particular to our comrades, from the Ecologist Party “The Greens”, from Intervenção Democrática, to all those who, having no party affiliation, find in the CDU their project, the strength of word, of dignity, of trust.

A greeting that I extend to all those who were involved, committed and helped build the PCP’s Electoral Programme that we present here today.

In the several hearings we held, in the many contributions collected, in the multiple contacts, the Programme we present here today is the result of this process of participation and construction, but it is also the result of continuous work in our daily lives, a Programme that reflects the intervention of a Party linked to life, the workers and the people, their aspirations and rights.

A Programme that has the strength of respect for the commitments made, the guarantee of giving it life and implementation.

The Programme we present here today will have as much strength as the people give to the CDU.

A fair, necessary and urgent Programme.

Fair because it does not surrender and combats growing injustices and inequalities between those who produce wealth and those who seize it.

Necessary because it responds to the problems that persist and to the worsening of structural deficits resulting from decades of right-wing policies.

Urgent because faced with the growing uncertainties and challenges of a country increasingly submissive to interests that are not its own, and to economic models that do not serve it, it chooses to face them.

In view of the diagnosis, we put forward realistic and achievable solutions. With the courage, rigour and determination that guide our action.

We do not give up on the country, we know its capabilities, means and above all we know and trust the strength that our people have, that strength that carried out the April Revolution.

And in this year in which we celebrate 50 years of what was one of the greatest achievements in our collective history, it is the moment to highlight in the present and the future the values that April represents and the strength of its key player, the people.

It is no wonder that those who do everything they can to continue and heighten injustice and inequality want to settle accounts with April.

Because April is justice and equality, April shows that our people are capable of freeing themselves from all chains and that they are capable of all transformations, no matter how powerful those who exploit and oppress them are.

With April there are no inevitabilities, no matter how many times you repeat this idea.

April is our reference, it is our inspiration, April is a project that is reflected in this Electoral Programme that we present here today.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, nor start from scratch, there is an irreplaceable heritage and a basis for Portugal to overcome its structural deficits and embark on a path of progress and social well-being, justice and development.

There is a fundamental instrument resulting from our collective struggle, the Constitution of the Republic, the fundamental law that enshrines the rights necessary for everyone's life to improve.

And it should be respected and fulfilled.

It is on the Revolution, the Constitution and the values of April, it is on this reference of democrats and patriots that our Electoral Programme is based.

A Programme that, like April, requires a break with the path the country has been thrown into for decades.

A country where political power kneels before the interests of economic groups. A country with low wages and pensions, which strangles public services and investment. That privatised and handed over a large part of strategic companies abroad and is preparing to privatise what remains, which promotes corruption. That wants to dismantle the NHS and every day favours the disease business. That degrades Public Schools, despises and commodifies Science and Culture. That heightens inequalities and imbalances in the territory and disregards national production. That subjected the country to the EU, jeopardises national sovereignty, delays the modernisation of the country and pushes it towards an economic stagnation that has occurred significantly since joining the Euro. That weakened democracy, the democratic regime and promoted and opened the field to reactionary values, conceptions and practices that are a threat to the present and the future.

The Electoral Programme that we present here today is a program that breaks with the path that brought us here. It is a Programme of rupture with right-wing policies.

A Programme, a project, an idea of development that cannot be seen in a parcelled way, isolating this or that axis.

It is a Programme to solve and not to postpone or deepen problems.

It is a Programme that responds to immediate concerns and lays the foundations for a Portugal with a future.

It is a serious Programme and not mere propaganda to hunt for votes. It is a Programme that takes sides with the workers, the people and the Country. A Programme that de facto submits economic power to political power.

A Programme and an option for labour, wages, workers’ rights.

An option for investment in public services, in the social functions of the State, in Healthcare, Housing, Education, Science and Culture.

An option for the defence of the Interior and the rural world, based on regionalisation and territorial planning and an environmental policy that safeguards nature.

An option for a policy that upholds national interests, a patriotic policy, and that places the workers and the people at the centre of its action, a left-wing policy.

We want and have the right to a fairer country.

There is no justice without a fairer distribution of wealth. This is the great national emergency that needs to be met now.

Valorise careers and professions, respect those who work and significantly and immediately increase wages by a minimum of 15%, with not less than one hundred and fifty euros, and guaranteeing from now on that no worker in 2024 receives a salary of less than one thousand euros. An urgent option that requires the immediate end of the expiry of collective agreements and the fair valorisation of careers and professions, starting in the Public Administration by revoking the current and unfair evaluation system – SIADAP.

There is no justice without putting an end to fiscal injustice by ensuring the means for the State to fulfil its role.

The country's problem is not in the excess taxes, the country's problem is in those who should but do not pay the taxes that are owed.

It is necessary to confront fiscal injustice once and for all, effectively taxing big capital, combating tax havens, reducing the burden of indirect taxes and taxes on labour. It is necessary to tax great fortunes and profits, end the tax benefits given to large capital in terms of IRC corporate tax, move forward with the special taxation of profits from banking, energy and large retail, with the mandatory inclusion of all income for the highest IRS income tax bracket and, at the same time, set VAT on electricity, gas and telecommunications at 6%. A tax policy that reduces the IRS for workers and pensioners, by increasing the specific deduction to 1035 euros; increasing the number of tax brackets to ten; and relief by three percentage points in the first three brackets.

The fairness of tax collection must be matched by the fair and necessary public response in all its aspects, from education to healthcare, from justice to housing.

We want and have the right to live with dignity.

Dignity to which those who have worked their entire lives are entitled. Retirees and pensioners deserve a better life, including annual increases that raise the value of pensions, particularly the lowest ones.

From the outset with an increase, in 2024, of 7.5% with a minimum of seventy euros, with retroactive effect to January; and the creation of two new levels of minimum pensions in the contributory regime and an increase in their respective values.

With the reinstatement of the retirement age at 65 years. But also with retirement without penalisations after 40 years of payments.

A decent life requires that healthcare be a right and never a source of business.

It is necessary to save the NHS and ensure that everyone has a family doctor and nurse, respond to the needs of users and end waiting lists for medical appointments, tests and surgeries.

It is necessary to end the transfer of public resources from the NHS to the disease business.

It is necessary to retain, maintain and attract professionals to the NHS, respect and value them, create working conditions and move towards an exclusive dedication regime for doctors, nurses and other professionals ensuring a 50% increase in their basic pay and a 25% increase in the length of service.

There is no dignity without access to a house, a home, a roof.

This is today a problem that throws thousands and thousands of people into extreme situations and that not only requires medium and long-term measures but also immediate responses.

From the outset, it is necessary to regulate one of the most liberalised sectors of the economy, such as the housing sector, and create a special home ownership regime that puts bank profits to bear the high interest rates.

Repeal the rent increase and, once and for all, put an end to the eviction law.

Move towards the urgent stability of leases on a ten-year basis, putting an end to benefits for non-residents.

It is necessary for the State to quickly assume its responsibilities and move decisively towards an urgent programme of offer of public housing, ensuring an average annual value of 1% of GDP for public investment in housing, which includes the provision of 50 thousand new public housing.

We want and have the right to hope.

Hope in a country that responds in the present looking to the future.

That promotes the rights of children, parents and youth.

Conditions that involve the creation of a public network of daycare centres, linked to the pre-school network, integrated into the educational system, ensuring the availability of 100 thousand vacancies by 2028, aiming to cover the entire national territory.

The universalisation of family allowance, an allowance that is a child's right.

The fight against the deregulation of working hours, the misuse of shift work, night work and weekends, the establishment of a 35-hour week for all workers and the effective respect of maternity and paternity rights.

A country of hope and a future demands the valorisation of Public Schools.

A valorisation is only possible with the valorisation of professionals, teachers, assistants, but also with students and the rest of the educational community.

To respond to the problem of the shortage of teachers, which worsens month after month, it is urgent to respect teachers, put an end to precariousness and recognise the length of service that has been denied to them. Investing in school facilities and hiring other missing professionals. Reducing the number of students per class and improve the quality of teaching.

Hope in the future is built now. It is therefore urgent to create the conditions for young people here to study, work and live their lives.

The country cannot afford to see thousands and thousands of young people leave every year for other countries in search of a better life.

The country is required to provide this better life with a response here. The end of tuition fees and guarantee of student accommodation, combating precariousness and stability, increasing wages, access to housing, constitute central aspects and guarantees for younger people to find reasons to stay here in their country.

We want and have the right to a developed country.

A developed country requires a sovereign development and planning policy.

A clear bet for public investment at 5% of GDP per year.

From investment in the railways to the purchase and production of trains in our country, from the construction of the new Lisbon airport to the requalification and expansion of the road network, from the construction of hospitals, healthcare centres, daycare centres and homes to the necessary investment in science, in State laboratories, in higher education institutions.

A developed country that needs to promote national production, replace imports, reduce external dependence, ensure food sovereignty, the production of medicines or transport equipment.

With measures to support family farming, artisanal and coastal fishing, industrial development in key areas, micro, small and medium-sized companies, particularly with priority access to EU funds compared to economic groups, and the reduction of energy tariffs and taxes, telecommunications, insurance, credit with which economic groups crush micro, small and medium-sized companies.

A developed Portugal that needs to expand public transport offer to the entire country, with the reduction of the price of the monthly intermodal pass to twenty euros, the extension of intermodality to the entire national territory and the creation of a national public road operator system throughout the country, which ensures an increase in the supply of public transport.

A developed country requires combating regional inequalities and asymmetries, implementing regionalisation, ensuring funding and autonomy for Local Government, eliminating tolls in former SCUTs or toll-free roads.

A developed country must preserve the environment and biodiversity, undertake an energy transition subordinate to the country's interests and not as another pretext for public subsidizing of profits of GALP, EDP or other economic groups.

A developed country places public companies like TAP at the service of the country and has to aim to regain public control of strategic companies and sectors.

A developed country does not side with Public-Private Partnerships and other drains on national resources.

We want it, we have the right, and it was through our struggle that we built a more democratic country.

A more democratic country in all its components, political, economic, social and cultural.

A more democratic country that combats the political and economic crime that constitutes privatisations, the biggest focus of dealings and corruption.

A more democratic country requires Armed Forces and Security Forces and Services equipped with the conditions and capabilities to carry out their constitutional missions.

A more democratic country requires the fight against all types of discrimination, whether based on nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious or political options.

A more democratic country is a country where hate speech, racism and xenophobia have no place.

A more democratic country requires the democratic regulation of the media, the valorisation of its professionals, the dignification of public media services, contributing to rigour, pluralism and the valorisation of language, culture and social and territorial cohesion.

A more democratic country demands everyone's right to cultural production and fruition.

It requires a public Culture service, support for the arts, valorisation of the Portuguese language, ensuring 1% of the State Budget for Culture.

A more democratic country is one that fights on all fronts for the right to Peace and against war.

A country, a state that demands the end of all wars, that commits itself to the political resolution of conflicts, that contributes, at the outset, to putting an end to the war in Ukraine and the massacre of the people of Palestine.

This is a different Programme, to undertake a different policy. We know that this Programme, in addition to being fair, necessary and urgent, is achievable.

The options we express in this Electoral Programme, in this commitment we establish with the Portuguese People, are options of rupture and, therefore, hardly fit into the neoliberal logic or the corset of austerity or the so-called correct accounts.

It is a left-wing Programme that breaks with right-wing policies. And it is a Programme that can be carried out based on five fundamental options that is always useful to remember.

This Programme is achievable because it redirects economic policy towards economic growth, full employment and empowering the State with the resources it needs, including a sustainable budgetary policy.

It is an achievable Programme because it has a fiscal justice policy as the basis for expanding the State's response capacity without sacrificing fiscally those who make a living from their work.

It is an achievable Programme because it proposes to stop the transfer of public resources to economic groups, allocating public money that is currently diverted to private profits to the collective interest.

It is an achievable Programme because it aims to improve efficiency in public spending.

It is an achievable Programme because it aims to stop the bleeding of national resources abroad resulting from privatisations, the free movement of capital, and the country's external dependence.

Being a fair, necessary, urgent and achievable Programme, it is the Programme for a patriotic and left-wing policy that corresponds to the wishes and aspirations of the workers, the people and the Country.

To this end, giving strength to the CDU is essential.

This is the vote that counts to break with right-wing policies, wherever they come from.

From the PS that reaffirms the desire to continue in the wrong direction.

From the PSD and CDS, who want to go back to 2011 to carry out what the workers, the people and the CDU fought, disaster and social regression.

From Chega and IL, who, after taking off the jerseys they once wore from PSD and CDS, try to present themselves with a new face, but with old and very old ideas.

From all of them, now it's just promises and intentions for tomorrow, and if they come to power, to justify the impossibility of implementing the promises made now.

We are well aware of the differences they have and what separates them, they are not all the same, but we also know, just as the workers and the people know from their own experience that only a strengthening of the CDU will impose the necessary and urgent change in the policy that is in place.

The vote for the CDU counts and is what stops the move to the right. The vote for the CDU is what determines the patriotic and left-wing course that the next government needs.

The PCP has solutions for the country. Solutions that are inseparable from the patriotic dimension of a policy that affirms sovereign development, the recovery of instruments of economic, financial and monetary sovereignty, the unwavering defence of national interests.

Solutions inseparable from a clear option for a left-wing policy in which the valorisation of work and workers, the materialisation of social rights and the social functions of the State, the fairer distribution in favour of labour of the national income and the wealth created, State control of strategic sectors.

A force of convergence to respond to national problems, the PCP is the force of rupture and of the construction of a better Portugal.

This Programme is that commitment, the commitment that with the strength and struggle of the workers, the people and the strengthening of the PCP and the CDU, another alternative and left-wing policy is possible, urgent and necessary.

They can decree the end of art, which is like decreeing the end of rain.

They can decree the end of hope, and we'll write an April song about it.

An April programme, a programme for a Portugal with a future.

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