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Charles Michel advocates “political dialogue” after debate on Poland

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Charles Michel advocates "political dialogue" after debate on Poland

Dand according to sources – only on Friday the leaders will give a press conference, and there will not even be written conclusions, since this topic was not officially on the agenda – the discussion, which threatened to interfere with the summit that began today, “took place in a serene atmosphere” and provided ” the ability to identify specific challenges and better understand different points of view. “

Council President Charles Michel “concluded that the political dialogue must continue in search of solutions,” and today’s debate is “a step that should help lead to solutions.”

However, according to European sources, the European Council considered the protection of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary to be “absolutely fundamental”, with several Member States advocating the use of mechanisms already in treaties and legislative texts to enforce it. respect, and some legal and institutional instruments are already in place or may soon be in place.

The debate on the rule of law – “addressed” informally, at the request of several member states, in light of the recent ruling by the Polish Constitutional Court that there are national rules that take precedence over European law – threatened to overshadow the European Council, which was launched today in Brussels and will run until Friday.

Just today, in a resolution adopted in Strasbourg, the European Parliament condemned Poland’s attacks on the rule of law in the EU and called on the European Council to take a “clear position” on the crisis and issue a joint statement “in the most energetic forms.” … “, Which will not happen.

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MEPs also defended economic sanctions, stressing that “EU taxpayers’ money should not be transferred to governments that grossly, deliberately and systematically compromise European values.”

The resolution approved today was preceded by a debate on Wednesday between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Speaking upon arrival at the European Council, whose agenda is the Poland / EU crisis, Morawiecki said he was “ready to talk” but rejected “the pressure of blackmail”.

“We will not act under the pressure of blackmail, [mas] we are ready for dialogue, ”the Polish Prime Minister said.

Portugal is represented at the summit by Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who today declined to make statements on his arrival at the Council.

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Party democracy and political reform

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Party democracy and political reform

Portugal has one of the most party electoral systems in the world. With the possible opening of the process of constitutional review, the possibility of reforming it arises. This is the context in which I decided to share some ideas with you.

  1. The electoral system of Portugal in the world

The parliamentary electoral systems of Portugal and Spain, based on closed party lists, that is, without the possibility of voter interference in them and without the possibility of nominating independent candidates, are systems that are strongly partisan.

With the exception of most Hispanic (South America) and Lusophonia (all except Brazil), it is difficult to find any country in the world with an equal system, the main exception being Israel.

In the European Union, only Greece – where in any case eight single-member constituencies, which is impossible between us – follows a system of this type, with some close ones, such as Romania, where independent candidates are allowed anyway, and Bulgaria, where, however, national and regional lists.

To aggravate the party loyalty to the system, we have in Portugal the absence of a Senate and an extremely biased Constitutional Court and – mainly for this reason – a lack of internal party democracy rules for drawing up these closed lists, which recently led to It arrives to legislate what is common practice: the leader of the party does what he / she wants with the lists of candidates, and therefore it is he who appoints the deputies in accordance with the votes that the party draws.

When the system was created in 1974 (it has not undergone significant changes since it was first used in 1975 for the founding elections), it arose from the revolutionary freedom to create political parties. In the 1970s, it was the foundations of the main German parties that played a decisive role in supporting the emerging democratic systems, up to the fact that, for example, in Germany, on the basis of one of these foundations, the Portuguese PS was created. It is therefore likely that it was German influence that was behind the three nascent European democratic systems of the time (Portugal, Spain and Greece) and through them in the former Portuguese colonies and Latin American countries with great Spanish influence.

Then it was believed that alternative views on peacebuilding (ideology, according to the Marxist vulgate, which, however, does not understand what Marx meant by ideology), dictated the programmatic orientation of citizens. As in many third world countries, socialism was constitutional, and therefore all parties had it in their name (note that “social democrat” is the original name of Lenin’s party, and “democracy-social” from CDS is a simple reorganization . term).

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In this logic, it was expected that the cement of the vote would be “common ideology,” and therefore, it was expected that the MP would necessarily have the same opinion as his party about covid, renting houses, or the statute of public prosecution (to give examples of questions, on which he was recently asked to speak).

This idealized Portugal, if it ever existed nearly five decades later, definitely no longer exists, and the commitment on which it is based is completely out of line with our reality.

Party clubism is constrained only by the figure of a president elected by universal suffrage, a figure that ranged from the initial asceticism of Mavorticus to the current president of the television company, a figure with little executive power but huge morale, a transformation that reflects the transition from a harsh country to a country that moves at a pace “Show business”.

Perhaps this is why we understand the logic behind the constitutional revision proposed by the mainstream Portuguese right-wing party, which aims to rebalance the political system in favor of the president and against parliament, as a way to make it less biased, a variation of which, as I pointed out last week, I can’t see it myself. I will return shortly to the question that seems to me to be decisive.

Alternatively, I believe that it is necessary instead to strive for a non-partisan political system, to replace the Constitutional Court with a non-partisan body; increase and facilitate the use of the referendum; multiply universal suffrage (in a fair case, following a friend’s ideas here, eventually with specialized law schools inspired by the Oklahoma Constitution) for a wide range of functions (vendors instead of sheriffs of the past).

  1. Hungary and the limits of the electoral system

However, in all of this discussion, it is important to curb expectations. Three decades ago, at the invitation of the National Democratic Institute (the most institutional think tank in the US Democratic Party), I accompanied the first steps of Hungarian democracy in Budapest.

From such a distance, it is necessary to conclude that the democratic process in this country did not develop in the best way, given that Hungary was the only country in the European Union that the United States decided not to invite to its Democracy Summit.

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But thirty years ago, it was difficult to imagine exactly what would happen. Hungary was not only one of the pioneers of the wave of democratization after the Iron Curtain, but in particular, it established the most complex electoral system I know. In fact, during that mission to Hungary, I brought more ideas with me than I took, and it was Hungary that inspired the ideas and proposals to disunite the democratic system in Portugal.

The electoral system, which was in force from 1990 to 2010, united single-member districts, regional districts with proportional representation, and a compensation circle, in which, as is done today in the Azores, the proportionality of the results of the previous two was adjusted. …

The system provided for two rounds: if none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes, and if in the first round the number of abstainers was more than 50%. The system also had the tendency to leave the single loop empty if the participation rate was less than 25%.

This system was only replaced in 2012 by a more traditional one, in which there is only one member, directly elected, and a national constituency. The voter has different votes in the nominal constituency and in the national constituency, although the deputies elected in the latter have a mixed system that seeks to restore some proportionality.

The Hungarian electoral system of 2012 is simpler and in any case better than the Portuguese system, but as we know, it did not stop the degradation of the Hungarian democratic system when its leader publicly declared that he did not see himself as a liberal democracy, and replaced the US with Russia. and China as preferred partners.

The lesson I have learned from my Hungarian experience over the past thirty years is that it is a mistake to think that you can democratize the political system by designing an electoral system; The electoral system is important, but it is just part of a complex social cog.

  1. What is the reform process?

The main problem we face is how to challenge party power by promoting democracy. To do this, the first thing we must do is not break the healthy relationship we need to have with our story.

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The Salazar revival is of interest both to those seeking to gain the trust that it lacks in the present in the past, and to those who are trying to convince us that the past is an alternative to the present.

Parliament

The resurrection of Salazarism will be the revival of Portugal, which no longer exists and never will. Just as Salazarism in the past looked for inspiration in its instruments of suppression, any modern authoritarianism can do the same with Salazarism, but in reality it will not be able to find the mechanisms Salazarism uses to gain public acceptance, because this Salazarist society does not exist. and will not be.

The whole decor of the congresses on May 28 and the rethinking of the slogans “God, Fatherland and Family” are theatrical propaganda elements that we should not give any confidence to, but they are clear and unshakable in essence.

The national party authority is interested in believing that the alternative to what it offers us is a return to salazarism, and therefore it is extremely interested in giving some realism to the threat of a return to the past and to hide that democratic alternatives exist and even common in democracies, in the European Union and beyond.

Thus, the first step towards reform is to transfer the debate to the world in which we live and to abandon the exercises of renaissance, that is, to discuss reforms adapted to Portuguese society in its international context.

The second step is to curb deliberate temptations. An ideal reform, an ideal electoral system from the best minds, runs the risk of being counterproductive if society does not feel it and does not want it.

Third, the dilemma we face is that the parliamentary structure cannot be expected to be the engine of reform that calls it into question, but it is equally impossible to carry out this reform against this parliamentary structure, and this dilemma leaves us narrow room to maneuver. First of all, the dilemma forces us to exercise some strategic patience that allows us to be alert and ready when the opportunity arises.

The reform of the political system will necessarily have to pass both through the local government and through the European representation, with common problems, and for this reason, these two political stages will also be important in this process.

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Young people want to be heard, but not everyone votes. What makes them different from politics?

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Young people want to be heard, but not everyone votes.  What makes them different from politics?

Attention is drawn to the percentage of abstinence of the youngest. Experts say the problem is not a lack of interest, but the need to look at other forms of political participation.

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They are seen as decision makers for the future, a generation that can make a difference, but the relationship of young people with politics is not easy, and the difficulties are not today. The reasons cited are issues of representation and priorities that are not in line with their ideals, and experts say there is a need to take a different look at politics and how young people can be politically active.

The abstinence rate among young voters was the topic of discussion and research “Young people in Portugal today: who they are, what they think and how they feel”, conducted by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation (FFMS) and surveyed 4,904 young people between the ages of 18 and 34 in a representative a population of 2.2 million young people shows that 14% of young people have never voted in any election. On the other side of the coin are 53% of young people who ensure they vote whenever an election is held.

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“I think young people are understandably disappointed in some of their political leaders.”, begins with an attempt to vindicate Howard Williamson, professor of European youth policy at the University of South Wales.

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Sofia Serra Silva, Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon, believes that the role of young people in politics and how they participate in it is a topic that deserves more attention than what has been given to it. “A very recent study focuses on this category of excluded young people, which is prevalent in the Portuguese context. This is troubling, ”says the expert, who argues that“ strategies need to be developed to try to understand why we have young people who are not satisfied with the functioning of democracy, who have little trust in the government and who, at the same time, may be from – for this we do not know, we participate a little “.

Howard Williamson, who attended the Novos Encontros Juventude conference last weekend in November in Lisbon, says “this whole issue of young people’s political participation is complex,” especially on the part of “strong supporters.” votes ”, which remain skeptical about the decision-making ability of young people. “[Muitos dizem que] They [os jovens] not educated enough to vote. Well, this is a joke, because most people are not educated enough to vote, ”continues the Briton, an expert on youth policy.

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Portuguese youth and politics

Among the data presented by the FFMS study, although the majority of respondents indicate the presence of political convictions (78% of women compared to 84% of men), the interest is not so great: “in the scale used – 27%. women indicated values ​​above 6 compared to 34% of men, ”the investigation says.

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“I would like us to see us as an electoral bloc,” says 21-year-old Adriana Cardoso. A young pharmaceutical graduate currently pursuing a master’s degree in the same field considers himself impartial and argues that this should not at all be a reason to abandon political expression.

“The type of politics of people my age is more independent, we use podcasts and our own projects,” continues Adriana Cardoso, stressing that “politics is not limited to parties”.

In terms of voting, 21% of young people say they voted in most elections, while 12% admitted to having voted in several. Although young women represent a smaller percentage of interests and political convictions, the truth is that they are the ones who exercise their right to vote in elections: 56% compared to 49% of young men. The study also states that “there are slightly more men than women who believe that democracy in Portugal is currently working well or very well (40% versus 37%).”

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The FFMS study shows that 87% of Portuguese youth have a political position, mainly in the center, but women tend to tend towards the extreme left and men towards the extreme right.

In this regard, the young woman admits that “often we vote against our economic interests because we identify with social causes,” even because, as she argues, “a party that does not try to solve a problem or does not talk about housing, not suitable for me as a voter, and it shouldn’t work for my generation. “

New forms of civic and political participation

Sofia Serra Silva says young people’s interest in politics and democracy is not on the line, and argues that it is important to look at political action beyond voting. “The issue of electoral participation is, of course, also important. But electoral participation is often perceived as the pinnacle of political participation, ”which, according to the researcher, is a limiting factor.

“What is happening is that we know that young people are increasingly giving preference to other forms of participation, forms based on themes and reasons that are close to them. There is even a British researcher who called these new forms of political participation “do it ourselves,” meaning that they represent a repertoire of action and political participation, collectively led by young people and reinvented, rejuvenating from the traditional repertoire of political participation, often for outside international political institutions “– explains a junior researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon.

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Young people appear to be more focused on signing petitions, participating in demonstrations, and buying or boycotting the action for political reasons, according to the data presented in the portrait by the FSFM, coordinated by Laura Sagnier and Alex Morell. When it comes to signing petitions, 40% of young people surveyed said they did so last year. As for “boycotting or buying certain products for political or environmental reasons,” the study says, 70% of those who chose this form of action “also signed the petition,” the portrait says.

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The petition, according to Sophia Serra Silva, “is a tool created within the current political system and traditional institutions,” but the researcher identifies other forms of political and civic action by young people, especially on the Internet, “always very moving for reasons and themes (. ..) what we call problem-oriented, which mobilize part of the youth and, within these themes and reasons, have reinvented some forms of participation that are more innovative, creative, often digital. “

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For Adriana Cardoso, social media is a way to get politically active. “If the sides do not open up for us [jovens] we have to use these tools as a form of complaint, “because, as he guarantees,” the person who is good at Instagram and Twitter has a giant platform to showcase their ideas. ” However, many young people leave and do not express themselves politically, which Adriana considers a sign of impostor syndrome: “We think that we will never be 100% ready to talk about one topic, but I doubt that a student who goes to the same program all the weeks be 100% ready. “

the role of youth in politics

British researcher Howard Williamson, an expert on youth policy, says that, indeed, “we need democratic representation of youth in decision-making, but we also need what I call categorical representation of youth. We need young people with experience in government agencies. We need young people from the criminal justice system. They are desperately underrepresented in democratic participation, and yet they know their world better than anyone else. And we also have to listen to them. ” However, Howard Williamson himself calls for balance: “young people need a place at the table, but they should not have the only place at the table.”

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The lack of representation both in the Assembly of the Republic and in the places for television commentary is cited by the young Adriana Cardoso as one of the main shortcomings. “We need to be more demanding and smarter in how we consume,” he says.

“They lock us up in ‘young girls’, in national youth councils. (…) There seems to be an idea that young people should not be invited into politics. We are intellectually limited, it seems that young people can only talk about young people. “– complains Adriana Cardoso.

Howard Williamson advocates for more space for youth, but calls for balance. “I believe we need to involve young people much more, but also in partnership with older people. We need people with a certain experience, like me, but young people also have new, fresh and energetic ideas, and we must accept them. It’s good for politics, it’s good for young people, it’s good for society. “

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Recognizing that voting continues to be the most direct form of election and representation, Sofia Serra Silva says new forms of young people’s action can also make a difference, aside from creating debate. “It seems to me that the visibility of protests and campaigns led by young people has gained more prominence in recent years, and thanks to this visibility in the media, in fact, when they are organized and all together, [os jovens] they manage to put a certain topic and matter on the political and media agenda ”. Even because, he continues, “with the media coverage of these campaigns by young people, there is a growing awareness, not only for them, but for society as a whole, that they have a role to play and that they play an important role. play”.

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How to bring youth closer to politics

Bringing young people closer to politics has been a regular struggle, but more commitment and precision are needed, say experts interviewed by CNN Portugal.

Sophia Serra Silva argues that it is necessary to “foster more interest, more trust in institutions, greater satisfaction with the functioning of democracy.” However, it is equally or more important to ensure that “these attitudes are translated into behavior, that is, more active participation” on the part of young people.

In order to “fight here on these two fronts, relationships on the one hand, and behavior on the other,” it is “no doubt” important to bet on literacy in schools, with a discipline of citizenship that actually speaks of political citizenship, which let’s talk about the importance of democratic institutions, about the balance of power, let’s talk about the party system, let’s talk about the European Union, and there must be democratic literacy to promote citizenship education and youth participation, ”the researcher says.

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To bring young people closer to politics and, above all, to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge on this issue, the introduction of National Plan for Democratic Literacy, “Under the leadership of the National Commissioner and with a wide program of activities, especially in schools and among young people, similar to what is being done under the National Plan for Reading and the National Plan for the Arts,” declares the document of the Program XXII of the Constitutional Government for 2019-2023, in which also announced the intention to conduct “the study of the Constitution at all levels of education with an increasing degree of depth.” However, to date, there has been no progress with this measure.

CNN Portugal contacted the government ministry and the president, who said that “the government intends to begin the process of creating this plan in 2022,” but did not say when the National Plan for Democratic Literacy would formally go into effect. …

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Manuel Luis Gucha shows that he supports a political party and says: “This is democracy.”

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Manuel Luís Goucha

Manuel Luis Gucha has once again shared his political choices on social media.

This Sunday, December 5th Manuel Luis Gucha he showed himself to support Rui Rio of the Social Democratic Party on social media by sharing a photo of the party president.

“Yesterday I loved hearing on CNN Portugal Maria Antonia Palla (journalist, writer and mother of Antonio Costa) talking about Rui Rio,” started by writing in the image caption.

“I admire Dr. Rui Ryo immensely. He thinks with his own head. He may be insolent many times, but no one will become a victim. He was one of the few in the PSD leadership who had the courage to side with the legalization of abortion (when we fought for it). Dr. Rui Ryo is on the side of freedom. I was very happy that he won “, cited.

At the end, he added: “This is democracy!”

The comment box was quickly filled with Internet users supporting the entrepreneur’s political choice. “There is someone who can speak and write”, “Okay Manuel, being able to choose and express one’s opinion is part of freedom.”, “Fully I woke up!”, here are some of the examples.

Read also: Manuel Luis Gucha cooks and delights fans: “It was my Saturday.”

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