At one point it became an issue between left and right or between those who like April 25 more. But it was even the PSD who proposed the initial model for holding the solemn session, and has already welcomed the minimalist model of the session and the “responsibility” that will occur in the celebration of May 1. Does the PSD give more importance to the 25th of April than the CDS?
No, not at all. This PSD issue is used by the President of the Assembly of the Republic to try to legitimize it. The PSD proposed what it thought would make the most sense, okay, we didn’t agree, but this is a discussion that is being made at the leaders’ conference and that could have stayed there, had it not been for the President of the Assembly of the Republic from there on- in a crusade of wanting to set us against each other.
Wasn’t it a question of left-right?
No, as in fact it was seen in the positions of João Soares or Vital Moreira, who are unsuspected to be right-wing, or António Pires de Lima, who thought that the celebration should be done in these terms. It is not even abnormal that, in an exceptional situation like this, there are different opinions on how to celebrate. What is totally abnormal is for a President of the Assembly of the Republic to launch himself into this crusade, pitting one against the other, not just for a model of ceremony, but wanting to draw from it consequences that are typical of those who think they own values, a regime and, at the limit, owner of Parliament.
Did you ever fear that this controversy would reinforce the idea that the right does not like 25 de Abril?
On the contrary. This controversy proved that on the left there are many people who deal very badly with freedom of opinion and diversity of opinions. There was no one on the right who questioned the freedom of the President of the Assembly of the Republic, and others, to defend this model of celebration. There was, on the left, a President of the Assembly of the Republic who decided to create this whole situation, putting labels, distributing accusations, without any sense.
Lately, António Costa has been showing up every day, giving a series of interviews, giving several press conferences, speaking everywhere. Do you recognize that the pandemic has made the role of the opposition more difficult?
It depends on how each one carries out their duties. There is a very important role in this conjuncture for the opposition in everything where the government does not act well, or in everything that escapes government action. To play the role that an opposition has to play is, first of all, to represent everyone who may not be heard, or may not be treated properly.
Do you have examples?
I have: if there was no opposition to denounce, had there been a notion that personal protective equipment was not reaching homes and that testing on the elderly was not being done equally across the country? If there had been no opposition to saying so, it could have taken much longer to resolve. Another essential issue: the issue of lay-off. How many changes have already been made that were, in many cases, caused by criticism from the opposition? And we still continue to do them, for example, in relation to managing partners who continue to be left out in the overwhelming majority of cases, which can indirectly jeopardize many jobs.