Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, Rally «Struggle and Confidence»

Removing the PSD and CDS government is an imperative of the majority of the Portuguese people

At a rally in Lisbon with many hundreds of participants, Jerónimo de Sousa said that "Removing the PSD and CDS government represents an imperative to honour the will of the majority of the Portuguese people. It is this aspiration that the PCP “will seek to meet without hesitation" , adding that "whatever the circumstances and the evolution of the situation (...) the votes of PCP’s MPs will always contribute to all measures that are useful to the workers, the people and the Country and will oppose all that means more exploitation, impoverishment, social injustice and national decline."

We have just come out of an important electoral battle for the Assembly of the Republic which mobilized many of our energies and showed not only a living and active party, but also a great involvement and effort of thousands of CDU activists.

We carried out a remarkable campaign, with great popular participation that projects beyond the elections and this was due to their enthusiastic commitment and dedication.

To all, communist militants, Green Party followers, Democratic Intervention, independent persons, JCP and CDU youth, persons who in any way expressed their support for CDU and its project, our sincere greetings and gratitude.

An important electoral battle that resulted in yet another headway in the political and electoral reinforcement of CDU and a defeat of the PSD/CDS coalition with the loss of its absolute majority and the 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.

And if the continuation of CDU's electoral progress is a significant fact that nothing can deny, the other fact, with immediate effects on the evolution of the national situation, is the change that placed as a minority force 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 of 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 themselves and by the commentators on duty and at the service of the policy that serves big business and its economic groups.

The result of the PSD/CDS coalition – representing their second-lowest vote ever and the loss of over 700 000 votes - wiped out their ambition of being able to renew their absolute majority.

The clear defeat of PSD/CDS is inseparable from the struggle and fight that the workers and the people waged against economic decline and social regression.

And this is a victory of the great majority of our people and which 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.

This 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 had to rely solely on its own strength.

This was a campaign built with stroke by stroke militancy, 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.

We got where we got - a positive result resulting 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, break 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.

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

A result which given its positive trend is not dependent on any manoeuvre of momentary media favouritism, but is founded on a path of defending the interests of the workers and the people.

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

The heavy penalization imposed by the Portuguese on the PSD/CDS coalition and on the policy its government pursued further sinking the country, enhanced external dependency and attacked the rights of the workers and people, which promoted the destabilization of the democratic regime, is bound to have political and institutional consequences.

It is unacceptable that, in view of the second largest electoral defeat ever of these two parties and ignoring the political condemnation they suffered, the President, acting against the norms of the Constitution, wants to force and impose the renewal of a PSD/CDS government with the explicit goal of guaranteeing and ensuring the continuation of the essential pillars of the policy of national disaster of recent years.

The partisan bias of the action and commitment of the President of the Republic with the right-wing policy has become even clearer.

It is worth remembering that what really counts and determines governing solutions are the majorities that are formed in the Assembly of the Republic and support a government and not the party with the most votes. On the part of the PCP, we have said it clearly and now reaffirm that: we shall present a motion of rejection of a PSD/CDS government programme, if it is presented in the Assembly of the Republic.

The election results have clearly expressed not only the condemnation of the government and its policies, but also the desire for a policy which addresses the specific problems of the workers and the people and of the Country. The composition of the Assembly of the Republic, with PSD and CDS in minority, allows a basis for other governing solutions. What would be unacceptable in these circumstances is that such an opportunity should be wasted.

On the part of the PCP, we have said before and we reaffirm now: we are prepared and ready to assume all responsibilities, including governing, necessary for the implementation of a policy that breaks with the course that dragged the country to the current situation and that corresponds to the project of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

This means, also giving expression to the popular will, that the solutions to be considered are not confined to the composition of the government, but involve the need for a policy to defend 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.

It is for a policy that meets the aspirations of the workers and the people, that ensures better living conditions, promotes economic growth and employment and combats inequalities and social injustices that we fight, at a time when we discuss the future governance of the country.

This policy involves the consideration of essential tools to ensure such an alternative policy, 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 in the name of a reversal and abandonment of policies of exploitation and impoverishment and ensuring a better life for our people that we insist on the importance of discussing the content of policies, even though we know that PS’s programme does not answer the aspiration of a rupture with the right-wing policy.

To remove PSD and CDS from the government of the country corresponds to an imperative to respect the will of the majority of the Portuguese people and their clear expression of condemnation of the coalition. It is this aspiration that the PCP will seek to meet without hesitation.

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

Even in a context where PS insists in its programme, and 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.

We have said before, and we repeat, the PCP will reject any solution that proposes a PSD/CDS government and will help to defeat any initiative that aims to prevent the formation and taking office of a different governing solution.

When PS hands the initiative to PSD/CDS, as was patent in their meeting today, what comes out from the situation that is created is to know whether PS chooses to endorse and support the formation of a PSD/CDS government or takes the initiative to form a government which has guaranteed conditions to be formed and take office.

But whatever the circumstances and evolution of the situation there is one thing the Portuguese can take for granted: 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. This will be so to defend their specific interests, as is already the case of the workers made redundant at Somague and Unicer. They waited, colluded with the previous government, for the elections to pass and here they are, as we predicted and warned, going ahead with their attack on workers' rights and their right to work. 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, insecurity, 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 that 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 to defend the country, they are mistaken if they think they can deter and discourage us, in the battle 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 - which is of great importance in the context of the current situation of the country and when old and new threats weigh on the democratic regime.

The right-wing policy is a policy against the Constitution, has been carried out on the basis of its systematic violation, as we have just witnessed by the hand of the current President of the Republic, of disrespect to the basic norms of institutional functioning and which the organs of sovereignty have to abide.

These are elections whose outcome, due to their impact on the options and guidelines of the organ of sovereignty President of the Republic, will exercise a significant influence on the creation, consolidation and deepening of conditions to defend the April values and the Constitution and for the affirmation of a sovereign and independent Portugal.

This is, therefore, a very important battle, in which the PCP assumes that it is its duty, undeniable and unavoidable, to intervene with the demand to defend the interests of the workers, the people and the Country.

An intervention whose main objective is to help ensure in the Presidency of the Republic an effective respect for the oath to respect and enforce the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

Yesterday, following a decision of our Party's Central Committee, we announced the candidacy for President of the Republic of comrade Edgar Silva, member of the Central Committee and PCP’s MP in the Regional Legislative Assembly of Madeira.

It is a candidacy whose aim is to voice own ideas and of the model of the functions and role of the President of the Republic and the exercise of this office.

A candidacy to intervene and contribute to ensure that in the Presidency of the Republic we have a committed intervention with respect, compliance and defence of the Constitution of the Republic, free from interests and positions of big business, of the impositions and dictates of the economic power and foreign constraints to our national interest.

A candidacy addressed to all democrats and patriots, to the Portuguese people, which assumes the aim to give voice to their concerns and expectations.

A candidacy, truly coherent and combative, linked to the April values, and social justice, identified with the interests of the workers and people, inspired by a strong conviction and confidence in a developed and sovereign Portugal and that claims national independence as an inalienable value.

The election for the President of the Republic, having its own characteristics and giving expression to a project of functions of a single-person sovereign body, is not detached from this vast and prestigious collective action, of communists, democrats and patriots, workers and the people for the rupture with the right-wing policy, for a patriotic and left-wing policy.

When in these days in the context of the presidential elections with confirmations and announcements assuming more defined contours, the candidacy of Edgar Silva for President of the Republic, following his Declaration of Candidacy, on October 15, in Lisbon, will inscribe in his objectives and materialise the construction of a broad campaign of explanation and mobilization to vote.

This is a task that is assigned to all Party organizations and members, to all democrats and patriots, and which will focus the will, the determination, the energies and efforts indispensable for its affirmation and to broaden support for the candidacy and its aims.

A candidacy to be assumed in full for the affirmation of a project of a future for Portugal and wage a firm and determined fight for the pressing need to contribute to reversing the political course that has led the country to the crisis and backwardness.

To defend the democratic regime enshrined in the Constitution and to strengthen its roots in Portuguese society is to project in our near future the April values and its prospect of freedom, equality and social justice, fraternity, political participation, independence and national sovereignty
This is a new task and a new challenge that lies ahead!

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

These are great and demanding 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 which is necessary to reinforce, because its reinforcement will not only contribute to guarantee the defence of the interests of the workers and people, but also to the success of the task to build in Portugal a political alternative and a patriotic and left-wing policy to serve the workers, the people and the Country.

A reinforcement that has a campaign just launched with specific objectives to implement the Resolution "More organization, more intervention, more influence - a stronger PCP" to be carried out until the end of 2016.

At such a difficult time in the life of our people, this reinforcement at all levels is essential, along with a diversified intervention and a prompt political initiative, namely to develop mass struggle and prepare the presidential elections.

Essential because the PCP is crucial to defend the democratic regime, freedom and democracy, as a Party guarantor of national sovereignty and independence, as a Party to defend the rights and living conditions, prepared and ready to stimulate resistance and struggle, prepared and ready to pursue a remarkable work and unparalleled work in Local Government, to serve the people, prepared and ready for active intervention in the Assembly of the Republic, and in government to build a Portugal with a future.

We have a party like no other, with a history, strength, values and unparalleled project. A Party that is steadfast in the ideal which guides us. A Party that affirms and reaffirms its nature and communist identity to materialise 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 - socialism and communism.

A Party that acts, intervenes and fights taking into account the concrete reality, of this people and this concrete Country, never losing sight of the line of horizon we propose to reach!

This is not the time to wait and see!! It is the time to take the initiative and act!