Headlines: 14 January 2022

Lusa

  • Costa says PSD wants to put politicians in control of justice, Rio accuses him of populism
    The PS Secretary General António Costa claims the PSD’s programme for justice is dangerous and puts politicians in control of the courts, while PSD president Rui Rio accuses the PS of populism and of seeking to deceive people.
  • Rio says Costa raised “two bogeymen” to scare Portuguese
    Rui Rio claims António Costa has raised “two bogeymen” to scare the Portuguese and is taking advantage of some misinformation in relation to the PSD’s election manifesto.
  • Absolute majority is not absolute power, it is having the conditions to govern – Costa
    António Costa says winning an “absolute majority is not winning absolute power: it is having the conditions to govern”, arguing that should this be the result, the President of the Republic will prevent abuses of power.
  • Rio wants TAP privatised “as soon as possible”, Costa says it was the state that saved the company
    Rui Rio accuses TAP of providing an “absolutely awful” service, insisting it should be privatised “as soon as possible”, while António Costa argues it was state intervention that allowed the national airline to be saved.

RTP

  • Live debate between António Costa and Rui Rio
    António Costa and Rui Rio went head-to-head last night in the Capitol Theatre in Lisbon in the only debate between the leaders of the two main parties ahead of the 30 January election.
  • António Costa attacks Rui Rio’s proposals and calls for a majority
    António Costa speaks to the media moments after the end of the debate with Rui Rio.
  • “How there can be stability with the PS?”, asks Rui Rio
    In the wake of the debate with António Costa, Rui Rio remained unclear about the terms of any post-electoral agreements involving the PS. He said Costa’s answer “did not add much to what he had already said”.

Expresso

  • Costa admits governing in the style of Guterres or in a coalition with PAN
    Head-to-head debate between leaders of PS and PSD livened up by health and justice questions.
  • Costa vs Rio: high score for a hotly contested duel, Rio won, but not decisively
    The most anticipated duel of the legislative elections gets high marks from Expresso’s commentators, with three giving victory to Rio, one to Costa and one declaring it a tie.
  • Costa uses Marcelo to allay fears of an absolute majority
    António Costa says winning an “absolute majority is not winning absolute power, it is having the conditions to govern”, arguing that should it transpire the President will prevent abuses of power.
  • Salaries, health, justice, economy and TAP: The debate between Costa and Rio
    António Costa and Rui Rio faced each other in debate for the third time. Costa spoke of the failed budget, which he will present again should his party win, and attacked the “dangerous” proposals advanced by Rio. In turn, Rio criticised Costa’s “continuity” line, which follows in the footsteps of Guterres and Sócrates, that did not move Portugal from the tail end of Europe. The main points addressed in the heated debate were governance, health, taxes, justice and TAP, alongside accusations of “populism”.

Público

  • Rio stirs up the ghost of BE in Government, Costa dismisses geringonça and tips his hat to PAN*
    Costa makes it clear: he will not resign if the PS do not win a majority, rather he will seek other solutions, whether a coalition or a issue-by-issue alliance. He rejected the idea of a new geringonça and even suggested the possibility of a PS-PAN government.
  • PS may be three seats short of an absolute majority. PSD falls again
    A Catholic University poll for PÚBLICO, RTP and Antena 1 shows that in the last week support for the PS has gone up, while the PSD is down two percentage points. Support for António Costa as prime minister has fallen, while Rui Rio’s popularity has risen. The poll also suggests the CDS may return no deputies.
  • Portugal is among EU countries with less severe Covid restrictions, despite high infection rate
    This week Portugal recorded two days with the most new Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, making it one of the European countries with the highest rate of infection increase. Nevertheless, restrictions in the country are among the most relaxed and are set to be loosened even further. Nightclubs can reopen from today and remote working is no longer compulsory.
  • SEF case open: Appeals to the Supreme Court, public prosecutor investigates more border guards and inspectors
    Ihor Homenyuk’s family and SEF inspectors are appealing the Lisbon appeal court’s sentence. The public prosecutor has two open enquiries into more border guards and inspectors.

CNN Portugal

  • It was the decisive debate, but Mr António and Mrs Manuela switched to Big Brother (and didn’t see Costa being Cavaco)
    One will be prime minister, the other will be a former party leader. But if the choice depended on this debate, nothing would change. It wasn’t pointless, it was predictable. Costa and Rio did not move any votes from one to the  other, but they diverted voter attention, even to the extent of insults, like when Rio appealed to Mr António and Mrs Manuela, even when Costa was blackmailing like Cavaco.
  • Who won the Rio vs Costa debate? CNN poll has turned the tide
    The pre-debate winner was António Costa, but after watching it the Portuguese changed their minds
  • Costa says he will approach PAN or negotiate like Guterres if he wins with a minority, Rio turns on TAP
    Rio says any scenario in which Pedro Nuno Santos becomes prime minister would be a “threat to the country”, while Costa says “he will not turn his back on the country” if he wins with a minority, and that he will stay in office. In that scenario, he made it clear he will not renegotiate a geringonça and opened the door to the PAN, stating he will do as Guterres did, and negotiate “issue-by-issue”. At the end of the debate, Rio got worked up about TAP in the only time he got angry about the PS’s governance.
  • Rio loses his cool over TAP: “It’s a flag carrier for Spain or any other country. It is indecent”
    In the debate with António Costa, Rui Rio once again said TAP should not have been nationalised, arguing that the amount of state aid it has received “is not acceptable”.

Diário de Notícias

  • Differences between Costa and Rio after heated debate
    The National Health Service, TAP, justice, taxes, minimum wage and governability. Those who watched the head-to-head between Costa and Rio yesterday could see the clear differences between them.
  • Costa: Without “restructuring”, TAP would have gone bankrupt. Rio says it is an “indecent” company
    António Costa and Rui Rio were at loggerheads last night in Lisbon’s Capitol Theatre.
  • Government launches website for early voter registration
    To facilitate voting across the country on 23 January, the government has launched a website with instructions and directions to where voters can register.
  • Jerónimo de Sousa’s surgery declared successful
    The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) reports that emergency surgery on the party’s secretary-general was successful.

Sol

  • PS “very left-wing” and PSD’s “extremely dangerous” proposals for justice
    The future of the country will be decided by António Costa or Rui Rio. The candidates faced each other in a debate in which Costa accepted the possibility of governing the country “issue by issue” and Rio warning of the dangers of power falling into the hands of Pedro Nuno Santos.
  • Polling station staff vaccinated with booster dose on 15 January
    Polling station and parish council staff will receive a text message with details of how to get their booster ahead of the election.
  • Government says it is prepared for whatever the Attorney General’s office decides
    In debate is the opinion sought from the Attorney General’s Office on the right to vote for people who are self-isolating due to Covid-19.

*Geringonça – a form of government in which one party governs as a minority with a semi-formal commitment short of a coalition or supply and confidence agreement with other parties that will not oppose the government’s programme in parliament and will help keep the governing party in office for the parliamentary term. The word geringonça roughly means “a contraption that has been hastily put together”. The Socialist Party (PS) government from 2015-2019, which was the original Geringonça, relied on support from the Left Bloc (BE) and Communist Party (PCP). The PS government from 2019 to 2021 was similar, although much less formal, with the government being brought down when the BE joined with opposition parties to defeat the government’s 2022 budget.

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