Opposition Social Democratic Party leader to be ousted
The leader of the Social Democrats, Rui Rio, is to be removed by his party’s National Council.
Sufficient signatures have been collected to force an emergency meeting of the Council and there will be but one thing on the agenda, Rio’s replacement.
The money is on Luís Montenegro who has been pushed forward by MPs to replace the almost invisible and certainly, ineffective Rio.
Montenegro will announce his candidacy on Friday afternoon, as will Miguel Morgado who has said if a party election is scheduled, he will think, “very seriously about being a candidate.”
Rui Fernando da Silva Rio, is a former Mayor of Porto and on 13 January 2018, was elected President of the Social Democratic Party with 54% of the votes in a two horse race, defeating the former prime minister Pedro Santana Lopes.
Rio was a critic of austerity and tried to distance himself from remedies imposed by his predecessor, Pedro Passos Coelho, in response to the economic crisis.
On social issues, as a centrist, Rio is to the left of his party and supports abortion, euthanasia and legalising medicinal cannabis.
Although named as a ‘social democratic’ party, the PSD is a centre-right conservative party whose previous leaders include the memorable prime ministers Aníbal Cavaco Silva and José Manuel Durão Barroso.
Pedro Passos Coelho was the PSD party leader from June 2011 to November 2015 when he failed to be re-elected but remained party leader. Later, he announced that he would not run for another term as PSD leader.
This triggered a leadership contest and on 13 January 2018, Rui Rio became party leader but has failed to make any impact in the seemingly impenetrable defence erected by the ruling Socialist Party and its Left Bloc allies.
Whether a new leader of this centre-right party will have any impact remains to be seen but the Socialist Party’s António Costa is highly likely to win the general election this Autumn, while hoping for a large majority to release him from the tedious horse trading that currently goes on with the Left Bloc and the Communist Party.
Rui Fernando da Silva Rio