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Party democracy and political reform



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.

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.

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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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The dollar continues to reflect the political scenario



The dollar continues to reflect the political scenario

Yesterday, financial agents evaluated the opposite decision of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) regarding the so-called secret budget. In addition, a decision was made by STF Minister Gilmar Méndez to issue an injunction that would exclude the Bolsa Família from the spending cap rule, with investors trying to understand how this measure would affect the processing of the transitional PEC in the Chamber of Deputies. Oh this PEC!!!!

Since he is an exchange investor, any reading that the budget will be exceeded or become more flexible will negatively affect the exchange market, whether through the PEC or in any other way. We will continue with volatility today.

Looking beyond, the US Central Bank (Fed), although slowing down the pace of monetary tightening at its December meeting, issued a tougher-than-expected statement warning that its fight against inflation was not yet over, raising fears that rising US interest rates will push the world’s largest economy into recession.

The currency market continues to react to political news. The voting on the PEC is saved for today. It is expected that it will indeed be reviewed to open the way tomorrow for discussions on the 2023 budget.

Yesterday, the spot price closed the selling day at R$5.3103.

For today on the calendar we will have an index of consumer confidence in the eurozone. Good luck and good luck in business!!

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Andrés Sánchez consults with the Ministry of Sports, but refuses a political post.



The former president of the Corinthians dreams of working for the CBF as a national team coordinator. He was consulted shortly after Lula’s election.

Former Corinthians president Andrés Sánchez was advised to take a position in the Ministry of Sports under the administration of Lula (PT). However, he ruled out a return to politics. dreams of taking over the coordination of CBF selectionHow do you know PURPOSE.

No formal invitation was made to the former Corinthian representative, only a consultation on a portfolio opportunity with the new federal government, which will be sworn in on January 1, 2023.

Andrés was the Federal MP for São Paulo from 2015 to 2019. At that time he was elected by the Workers’ Party. However, the football manager begs to stay in the sport, ruling out the possibility of getting involved in politics again.

Andrés Sanchez’s desire is to fill the position of CBF tackle coordinator, which should become vacant after the 2022 World Cup. Juninho Paulista fulfills this function in Brazil’s top football institution.

The former president of Corinthians was in Qatar to follow the World Cup along with other figures in Brazilian football. During his time in the country, he strengthened his ties with the top leadership of the CBF.

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The EU has reached a political agreement on limiting gas prices – 19.12.2022



Germany sentenced Russian to life imprisonment for political murder by order of Moscow - 12/15/2021
BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 19 (ANSA). European Union countries reached a political agreement on Monday (19) to impose a natural gas price ceiling of 180 euros per megawatt hour (MWh). The main sources of income for Russia and the minimization of the use of energy as a weapon by the regime of Vladimir Putin.

The agreement was approved by a supermajority at a ministerial meeting of member states in Brussels, Belgium, after months of discussions about the best way to contain the rise in natural gas prices in the bloc caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. .

The value set by the countries is well below the proposal made by the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, in November: 275 EUR/MWh. However, the countries leading the cap campaign were in favor of an even lower limit, around 100 EUR/MWh.

Germany, always wary of price controls, voted in favor of 180 euros, while Austria and the Netherlands, also skeptical of the cap, abstained. Hungary, the most pro-Russian country in the EU, voted against.

The instrument will enter into force on 15 February, but only if natural gas prices on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange exceed 180 euros/MWh for three consecutive days. In addition, the difference compared to a number of global benchmarks should be more than 35 euros.

Italy, the EU’s biggest supporter of the ceiling, has claimed responsibility for the measure. “This is a victory for Italy, which believed and worked for us to reach this agreement,” Environment and Energy Minister Gilberto Picetto tweeted.

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“This is a victory for Italian and European citizens who demand energy security,” he added.

Currently, the gas price in Amsterdam is around 110 EUR/MWh, which is already a reflection of the agreement in Brussels – in August the figure even broke the barrier of 340 EUR/MWh.

However, Russia has already threatened to stop exports to countries that adhere to the ceiling. (ANSA).

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