Last Thursday was the last possible day for the Portuguese President could use his powers to dissolve the Parliament, and the much anticipated and dramatized date (by the PSD – ‘liberal/popular’ right wing party) passed discreetly in the national political calendar.
Thus this first ‘D-Day’ (the second is the approval of the State Budget, in October), did not witness any dramatic landing or any substantive change in the political events of our country.
In fact, nothing could have happened, in part because of the cowardly leader of the PSD, Pedro Passos Coelho. If he truly wanted early elections, he should have submitted a censure motion in the Parliament, which, if approved, would mean the resignation of the government. He did not did it, preferring to try to put that burden on the President of the Republic and on the Prime Minister, who should have - in the opinion of the President of PSD - resign (in the case of Socrates) or dissolve the Parliament (in the case of Cavaco Silva). Yet neither Cavaco considered that the proper functioning of the institutions of the Portuguese Republic where at risk; nor Socrates that the conditions to govern had expired.
Seeing this latest episode in the light of other recent operations of the leader of PSD - including the proposed revision of the Constitution and blackmail surrounding the adoption of OE - makes clear that Pedro Passos Coelho is very ill-prepared to be taken as a serious candidate for office of prime minister of this country. Worse yet, has shown consecutively, not to have a team, a strategy or a sense of statesmanship.
The proposed constitutional amendment, promised as a project of great internal debate and involvement in the ‘liberal / popular family, came to prove to be the work of a short and unprepared ‘coffee table’. The strategy of his public interventions and agenda setting just obey popularity ratings and voting intentions expressed in the published polls; and the public statements about the OE have demonstrated a desire for power and lack of statesmanship that has surprised anyone interested in maintain political stability in Portugal, in the face of current economic challenges of our country.
For all this Passos Coelho goes trough, in my view, a serious crisis of credibility. He should have realize by now that is not enough to want to be prime minister and to have a jovial and energetic attitude to be taken seriously as an opposition leader and as a potential successor to Jose Socrates. He should also present political work, ideas and an alternative vision for the country. What, until now, has not been done consistently. Let's see if now is the courage to pluck the State Budget and consequently submit a motion of censure on the Government (providing after a governing solution lead by himself to Cavaco Silva). Not doing so will only confirm the cowardice and political inconsistency that has marked the recent leadership of the PSD.