EU membership looks increasingly unwise as Portugal is denied democracy

Portugal’s president: ‘This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy’

As the United Kingdom prepares for a referendum on its own membership of the European Union, this is chilling.

Eurosceptics will warn that the Union is now a threat to the democracy of individual nation-states, and with Portugal’s behaviour as an example, there will be no answer.

With this, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and other assaults on democracy blotting its record, EU membership is looking increasingly unwise.

Against that, we have the suggestion that the United Kingdom could split if we leave the EU, with the SNP suggesting this might be the cause for another independence referendum.

What’s the best thing to do? It’s looking like an increasingly impossible decision to make.

Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest.

Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika.

He deemed it too risky to let the Left Bloc or the Communists come close to power, insisting that conservatives should soldier on as a minority in order to satisfy Brussels and appease foreign financial markets.

Democracy must take second place to the higher imperative of euro rules and membership.

Source: Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal’s anti-euro Left banned from power – Telegraph

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16 thoughts on “EU membership looks increasingly unwise as Portugal is denied democracy

  1. hayfords

    I agree that Portugal’s President was unwise to describe his decision in the way that he did. However it is still democracy. We have the same system here and it was constitutional in Portugal. After the election and during it the Prime Minister is still in office as ours would be. If the PM does not resign in the face of a larger coalition, bearing in mind he got the most seats compared to other parties, he can choose to form a minority government as our PM can here. It is then up to the opposition to vote down the government. Harold Wilson ran a minority government in 1974 for 8 months and then called an election giving him a majority of only 3.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Your example of Wilson’s minority government is useful, but not in the way you planned, I think.
      After the February 1974 election, Labour had more seats than any other party – but Edward Heath refused to resign as prime minister because he believed the Northern Ireland parties might support him on a confidence-and-supply basis, and tried to negotiate a coalition with Jeremy Thorpe’s Liberals.
      When the talks failed, he did the decent thing and resigned, allowing Wilson to form a government.
      In Portugal, on the other hand, a left-wing party has secured an absolute majority. Democracy demands that this party must form a government there, no matter what the president thinks.

  2. hayfords

    You may need to look at the results in detail. The governing party took the most seats and the socialist party came second. Neither party crossed the 116 boundary of seats necessary for a majority. Both parties need to be in coalition. The left coalition is larger than the right coalition which has been governing as a coalition. The left has decided to join up with the communists who they normally seem to hate. The President has decided to leave the existing coalition in place as their constitution allows.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m actually tending towards agreeing with you, so history is made today!
      It seems the Torygraph article was inaccurate, and questions must be asked about whether this was intentional.

  3. Neilth

    Perhaps the EU should step in to enforce the democratic will of the electorate of one of the member states.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It would be pleasant if the EU expressed an opinion about being invoked as a reason to deny democracy.

  4. Joan Edington

    Surely the blame here is with Portugal and its government rather than the EU. I am totally against TTIP, and said in another post that I disagree with many EU policies, but did they force the Portugese President to take these undemocratic steps or did he make the decision personally, to make life easier for himself? I’m not sure what the relevance is to the UK referendum, unless you are suggesting that the Queen might somehow stop a euro-sceptic government here if our financial situation falls to the level of Portugal.

  5. Steve Kind

    Seems to me that the crunch will come when the conservatives in Portugal try to pass a programme – if they cannot – i.e. if a genuinely united opposition coaltion vote bit down then the president is out of options – either he allows the opposition to attempt to form va government or he abbrogates the constitution.

  6. Harry

    Mike, the EU has already interfered in the internal politics of the member states on numerous occasions. Including here in the British Isles. Look at Italy, and Banker Monti. Look at the outrageous interference from the EU Hegemon (Germany) whereby during Browns Government the Germans were shuttling back and forwards to make very certain that Gordon Brown would not offer the Brits a referendum over Lisbon. Ourageous!!!

    As for any decision being increasingly impossible: Take a look at the EU REFERENDUM blog run by Dr Richard North. His Flexit document is comprehensive and ingenius, using a two stage process that would suit this country far better than the Soviet style governance offered by the EU. Look at this for example:

    So exactly where does Malmstrom get her Mandate then.

    The EU is a thoroughly corrupted experiment useful only to France and Germany; The Hegemons tied together in a destructive embrace called the “Treaty of Elysee” 1963.

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