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Do we have a state of emergency on the cards again?

Photo by DR PHOTO - DO WE HAVE A STATE OF EMERGENCY ON THE CARDS AGAIN?The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, will meet with the Portuguese Prime Minister today, to discuss the Government’s position on a possible state of emergency.

António Costa will be received by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at 10:30 am, after a short ceremony in honor of the dead, especially the victims of the Covid-19, next to the Palace of Belém, in Lisbon, on a day of national mourning. The head of state, the Prime Minister and the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues will all participate in the ceremony.

Party hearings are also scheduled between 11:00 and 17:30, in ascending order of parliamentary representation: Liberal Initiative, Chega, PEV, PAN, CDS-PP, PCP, BE, PSD – by videoconference – and PS.

On Saturday, António Costa announced that he had asked the President of the Republic for a hearing to convey the Government’s position on a possible declaration of the state of emergency, applicable to municipalities with more than 240 infected with the new coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

In a press conference, at the end of an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, at the National Palace of Ajuda, in Lisbon, António Costa added that he would only disclose the Government’s position on this matter after revealing it to the President of the Republic.

Asked about a possible curfew, the Prime Minister replied that “this measure could never be adopted with the constitutional powers that the Government has”.

For the time being, at the meeting on Saturday, the Government decided, under the Basic Law for Civil Protection, to renew the calamity situation in the entire continental territory, from 00:00 hours of next Wednesday until 23:59 of 15 November, and apply special measures in 121 counties that have more than 240 cases of infection per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, including a “duty to remain at home”, mandatory teleworking, and closing of trade at 22:00 and restaurants at 22:30.

Before announcing these measures, the Prime Minister heard the nine parties with parliamentary seats on Friday. The PAN revealed that the Government put forward the hypothesis of a state of emergency in the first half of December to preserve the Christmas period.
The Prime Minister confirmed on Saturday that this had been discussed with the parties, but added that “there was a widespread opinion that it was absolutely premature” to be “now thinking about what to do in December”.

On Thursday, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa did not exclude a possible return to the state of emergency “on the proposal of another sovereign body”, saying that the next steps in the fight against the Covid-19 would also depend on the parties.

The state of emergency was in force in Portugal at the beginning of this epidemic, between 19 March and 2 May.

According to the Constitution, the declaration of a state of emergency can determine the suspension of some of the rights, freedoms and guarantees, for a maximum period of 15 days, without prejudice to any renewals with the same time limit.

Its declaration in all or in part of the national territory is responsibility of the President of the Republic, but depends on the hearing of the Government and authorization by the Assembly of the Republic.

In Portugal, the first cases of infection with the new coronavirus were detected on March 2 and 2,544 people have died so far, with a total of 144,341 cases of infection accounted for, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) .

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/