“We will never fail on a Government that stops impoverishment and recovers people’s incomes”
Reasons why Bloc is not a part of Government
Asked about what left Left Bloc out of the Government, Catarina Martins said “We were available to do that, but PS decided, with legitimacy, that the agreement reached had to respect the constraints of Bloc”.
Catarina explained “PS only accepted to make changes in their programme as long as the Budgetary Treaty would be respected and excluding the possibility of debt restructuring” and that prevented essential measures for Bloc, for example “answering before 700 thousand people who are unemployed, with no social unemployment subsidy, because with that budgetary constraint we won’t have margin to do it”.
“We want the agreement to be a solution for the country”
Signing the agreement was a political choice and Catarina admitted, “it was a clear political choice and it is best to be straightforward on what we agreed and where there was no convergence”. Catarina Martins continued, “we know that there will be a real change in the peoples’ lives, which will be extraordinarily important to end the cycle of impoverishment”.
“Everyone knows that, in Portugal, the Left Bloc will never fail on a Government that is restoring the workers incomes, protecting Welfare State and not doing any privatisations”, said Catarina Martins, adding that Bloc will never allow of a “right wing government that wants to sell everything that was built in this country and wants to continue deregulating work and cutting expenses in wages and pensions”.
“Our commitment is very serious and stable. We want this to be a solution for the country, to give people stability” highlighted Catarina Martins. The three basic conditions for the agreement presented by Bloc were: to restore the value of the pensions, not to reduce the employers contribution to Social Security via the Single Social Tax and to drop the proposal of “conciliatory lay-offs”. The Budgets will be discussed annually, which Catarina Martins explains has always been normal in governments that did not have an absolute majority.
Availability to discuss other measures
Questioned about how Bloc will react before unforeseen measures, particularly austerity measures, Catarina Martins explained “we have reached an agreement: we’ll always be available to discuss other measures that are not in the agreement, as long as what it in the agreement will not be changed, as long as the extraordinary measures never include a cut in the workers’ wages or pensions, as long as the IRS brackets remain progressive, as long as the tax over the income from work is not increased and, lastly, as long as there are no privatisations or destruction of Welfare State”.
About the airline company, TAP, Catarina explained there was a difference between Bloc and PS, “We agree that the process cannot go on as it is. But the Socialist Party thinks that the solution is to sell 49% of the company. We think TAP must remain 100% public”.
Asked if she would make a motion of no confidence over the PS Government, Catarina Martins answered: “I intend for Portugal to have a full Government mandate that recovers incomes and protects Welfare State”, adding that “I will vote against a right wing motion of no confidence on behalf of an alternative Government”. According to Catarina, Bloc will never fail on “a Government that is giving back income, protecting Welfare State and not privatising anything, even if I don’t agree with everything”.