Company leaders call for stability over rift between prime minister and president
Leading Portuguese entrepreneurs have called for stability, good governance, and have called on the Government to focus on the country’s problems as a growing rift has appeared between Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and his Prime Minister, António Costa.
The President of the Business Confederation of Portugal (CIP), Armindo Monteiro (Pictured), told the online news source ECO that he had no doubt that companies were postponing their investment decisions because of the political instability in Portugal. “We are frankly in a difficult economic cycle and our politicians should play their part in the solution.”
“Political stability is not an absolute given, but it should be used to meet the policies and ambition that the economy requires”, he said.
Hotels boss Bernardo Trindade, also president of the AHP (Portugal Hotel Association) added that the majority of the Portuguese had voted for the PS government precisely for the stability of continuity, but this whole succession of events (headed by the revelations at a parliamentary inquiry into TAP management) is causing instability and is worrying.”
The Prime Minister’s decision to not accept the resignation of the Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba, who had ordered Portugal’s secret services to confiscate the computer of one of his aides who was sacked, and which may or may not have had incriminating evidence on it that implicated that the minister could have lied or covered up certain aspects to do with secret meetings, sackings and contractions between evidence presented to the TAP airline inquiry and what actually happened, had called into question the relations between the Prime Minister and the President and had “lain bare the relations between São Bento and Belém.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa made the bad blood between the two clear in a press conference given on Thursday afternoon in which he said he disagreed with the Prime Minster’s decision to keep the minister on.
However, all of the captains of industry consulted by ECO did not think this latest debacle was a reason to dissolve parliament and call a snap election. “What is important is to restore the conditions for governability”, said Manuel Tarré, board president of Gelpeixe, a leading Portuguese company in the frozen fish sector.
Miguel Pina Martins, CEO of Science4you which makes educational toys, said snap elections didn’t make sense given that the government had only been in power for one year into its second term, adding that “not even the leader of the opposition, Luís Montenegro has called for elections”.
“What we need is that the (government) institutions work and that the government is focused on resolving (the country’s) problems”, he said, with César Araújo, the president of ANIVEC, a clothing industry association, adding that the government would be better off dealing with Portugal’s structural problems, while the CEO of Calvelex also thought “the Portuguese don’t deserve this political crisis. “With so much at play, it would be a brutal loss and from which it would be difficult to recover.”
Photo: Lusa, José Sena Goulão.