The interview is rare and that is why Paulo Portas makes a point of explaining why he accepted the invitation of journalist Maria João Avilez, in Público: “The presidential elections are at the door and I thought that it might be relevant – beyond the foam of the days and of some shouting – making an interpretation, as you asked me, of the current President’s mandate, which I supported and whom I will vote for ”. Is that the ex-CDS leader says that he “knows people with legitimate doubts and reservations”, hence the importance of “Refocusing the facts by remembering what is – and what is not – a head of state, and appealing to a modality of rationality in a discussion that is often only of style or form”. “It seemed like a possible contribution”. For this and to explain the importance of political “cycles”, which so often overlap with political “people”.
It is in this context, and at a time when the CDS (as opposed to the PSD) has not yet expressed its support for the eventual (and more than likely) re-candidacy of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to Belém, that the former centrist leader seeks to advise the center-right to unite around this candidacy, which “Is the only one that leaves the union and is interested in uniting the country”, as opposed to the others, “for example by Ana Gomes or André Ventura,” who “leave the division to build their strength”.
Portas even sees “legitimacy” and “pertinence” in some criticisms made of the current President, but recalls that those same people who criticize him with legitimacy do not even equate that the current President is not reelected – “Isn’t it true?”.
Between the “Legitimate repairs” who points out, but tries to get around – because he wants to reinforce the global importance of a President like Marcelo–, the former deputy prime minister highlights “the appointment of the new President of the Court of Auditors, who was anything but linear and who left an uncomfortable perception of political control over who has a duty to control financial legality ”; or even “hyperactivity”, which sometimes causes “shape and background to be confused: the abundance of form does not often allow us to clearly perceive the relevance of the fund ”. Or the announcement, alongside Costa, of the Champions as a prize for health professionals, but then Portas makes a point of honor: “Who remembered to say this very unusual thing that Champions it was a prize for health personnel was the Prime Minister. ”
Paulo Portas rules out being the right candidate against Medina in 2021: “No! Lisbon, no ”.
What matters is the fund, and then Portas has no doubt that Marcelo “Is on the right side of things”. In the field of praise for the mandate that is now ending, highlights the role that the PR had in mediating the governmental solution that came out of the 2019 legislatures (an unstable contraption, without a written agreement, or, in other words, a government in sight) . Portas thinks Marcelo did well not to repeat Cavaco Silva’s demand for a solid and written agreement, since if it had done so it would probably have led to a more “radical” political solution with the left-wing partners “sitting in the Council of Ministers”, as in Spain. “It would have been frankly dangerous to have had a head of state other than this one”, he concludes.
The decision to declare in a timely manner “emergency state” at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic it is also among Marcelo’s decisive moments. “Whoever wanted a state of emergency was essentially the President of the Republic. The Government was convinced that the Civil Protection rules were sufficient, but they were not ”, he says. Also, the President’s strategic vetoes, on sensitive issues such as TAP or the Basic Law on Health, were important to define him as head of state.
Praise is ripped apart – “informed person, exceptionally intelligent”, who has “tactical flexibility, in the fundamental issues that are relevant to him” and who, at the end of the day, can be seen as a “trustworthy” person – serve the underlying purpose to the idea of giving the interview: explain by ‘a’ + ‘b’ the importance of the center-right coming together around Marcelo’s re-candidacy.
There is the “theory of cycles” and this tells us that the second mandates are always different than the first. This is where Paulo Portas leaves the warning: “It is very likely that in the second term of the President there will be a decline in the cycle of the political left in Portugal. Center-right and right will tend to rise, center-left and left will tend to decline. And he will have to be attentive ”. In other words, it is in the interest of the center-right to have a President like Marcelo in power when that happens. Especially because Costa is often “tempted” to “precipitate elections” (whether “merely rhetorical or not”). And at that time, Marcelo must have the “wisdom” and “attention” that is required at the moment.
“It is natural for the change in cycle to happen in the second term that comes. What will compel the President of the Republic to pay more attention or, as he says, a more attentive affection ”, summarizes Portas in the interview with Público, where he completely rejects any possible municipal candidacy to Lisbon and where does not completely rule out a possible future candidacy for Belém. “That part is for later …”