The accounts are done and the outcome will be the most predictable: euthanasia will be approved this Thursday in the Assembly of the Republic. At the outset, if there are no absences and last minute voting changes, the votes of the deputies of the PS and the Left Bloc will be sufficient to approve at least the PS project. And even if there is some bad luck, in the socialist bench (where there is a greater risk, due to the size, of the numbers not matching the accounts of the bench’s management), the socialist diploma will have more eight votes left (four from the PAN, two from the ENP and one from Joacine Katar-Moreira), to which they still join seven more votes (at least) from the PSD bench. If five deputies were missing two years ago, now there is a comfortable advantage on the “yes” side to euthanasia.
This time, Prime Minister António Costa has avoided talking about the subject. And the only statement that made went to SIC, on Monday, to return to the yes side: “Whether or not euthanasia should be a crime, I have no doubts: it should not be a crime”. And it is exactly in this sense that the deputies should be able to get the new legislation approved.
Two years ago, the PS had only two deputies who voted against the bill to decriminalize euthanasia from the bench itself. Of these two deputies, one left Parliament (Miranda Calha) and another remains in the Chamber (Ascenso Simões). Therefore, the bench was expected to be more favorable. In fact, as the bench is bigger, there will be more votes in favor. But also more votes against. For now, it is known that there are seven deputies who will vote against euthanasia, including against the party’s own proposal: Pedro Cegonho, Ascenso Simões, José Luís Carneiro, Romualda Fernandes, Célia Paz, Raul Castro and Cristina Sousa. In addition to these seven deputies, the Observer knows, there are two who will abstain: Joaquim Barreto and João Athayde. Mathematical curiosity: in purely quantitative (non-proportional) terms, the PS will contribute more votes against euthanasia than the CDS (although the bench votes unanimously, it has only five votes).
These nine deputies do not cause the PS to have less favorable votes from the bench than two years ago, since the socialists now have more 23 deputies than in the previous legislature (108, against 85). In May 2018, when the diploma was voted, the PS project was the closest to passing, with 110 votes in favor, 115 against, and 4 abstentions. It was only five deputies from the approval, having fallen mainly due to the cross-polling of some PSD deputies (who voted for some projects and against others, ending up making all of them unfeasible).
This time, to avoid surprises, the PS bench made a touches to gather and, last Monday, the direction asked the deputies to be really present in this Thursday’s vote. Whoever had planned to be out on a parliamentary mission was called to the base, a deputy tells the Observer. This is what will have happened to the deputies Ana Paula Vitorino, Filipe Neto Brandão or Marcos Perestrello. This last deputy is in Brussels and expects to be in Lisbon by lunchtime, having been one of the names that the top management would hope he might not vote for in favor of the socialist project, but Perestrello will even vote in favor. Two years ago, it was the deputy who missed.
In an article he wrote for Correio da Manhã, Perestrello says that human life is “a greater good”, but he also adds that “there is no way to be insensitive to the pain and extreme suffering of those, incurable and suffering, in fullness of his conscience and in the exercise of his will, he freely gives up on life and asks for help to anticipate the end, because he cannot do it alone. It is impossible to ignore the personal drama of those who, in a limit situation, ask for this help. How can we condemn that decision and prevent it? We should not”. For the socialist, this is “a decision so complex and so difficult that only he himself, aware of the extreme circumstances of his life, can make it. It is this freedom to decide that this law brings us“.
There were also those who had changed their mind in relation to the last vote, within the socialist bench, the case of the deputy elected by Braga, Joaquim Barreto, who will abstain when in 2018 he voted in favor of the PS project and abstained from all others. Then there are others like Pedro Carmo, who was one of the deputies on which the board maintained a question mark, despite in 2018 having voted in favor of the PS project. The deputy from the Beja circle would be considering abstention, but will ultimately repeat the vote in favor.
The PSD leaves without a weight on its shoulders: the deputies of the PS, Bloco, PAN and Joacine Katar-Moreira would already get approval, even without the support of the PSD deputies – who will only reinforce this vote. In the “orange” parliamentary group there are two sensitivities: the overwhelming majority of votes against the decriminalization of euthanasia. There must be at least 63 deputies to vote against and the number may still increase. It is also the party, right after PS and BE with more votes registered in favor euthanasia (part of Seven already promised, to which a few more votes can be added). The project that will initially receive the most votes from the Social Democrats is the Socialist Party.
The PSD leader himself, Rui Rio has already taken the favorable vote, none more, at least in the PS project, which has a more restrictive interpretation than the other parties. In addition to Rio, the vice-president of the social-democratic bench Adão Silva – who had already voted in favor of the PS project in 2018 – should repeat the vote.
The deputy Duarte Marques confirmed to the Observer that it will vote in favor of “some projects“, Which assumes that in addition to the PS, it opens the door for the approval of others. In 2018, he voted in favor of the Left Block and ENP project and abstained from the PS project. The deputy Hugo Carvalho told the Observer that he is “tendency in favor” of euthanasia and, although the deputy prefers not to advance the vote in the diplomas, the Observer knows that he will vote at least favor of the PS project. The vice-presidents of the PSD, André Coelho Lima and Isabel Meirelles – although they do not want to publicly disclose their vote – they should vote in favor of decriminalizing euthanasia, a source from the board confirmed to the Observer.
JSD’s secretary general and candidate for leadership of that structure, Sofia Matos, It is also “convincingly”By“ yes ”to euthanasia, which means that he will vote in favor. His opponent in the leadership dispute for and JSD’s vice president, Alexandre Poço, revealed to the Observer this Wednesday that he remains undecided, warning about the complexity of decision making. JSD leader Margarida Balseiro Lopes would also vote in favor, but will not be present at the vote, since she is in political work in Paris. The Observer knows that the deputy requested authorization from the direction of the parliamentary group for absence, which was granted.
There are also deputies who prefer not to reveal their position, except when they stand up in plenary, as is the case with the political committee, Maló de Abreu, the president of Social Democratic Women, Lina Lopes, and also the manager Catarina Rocha Ferreira. They have one thing in common: they are all supporters of Rui Rio’s first hour. The question is whether they follow the leader in the “yes”.
There were, besides ALexandre Poço, three more undecided Mónica Quintela, Carlos Eduardo Reis and Nuno Carvalho. The deputy Carlos Eduardo Reis, however, you have already decided that you will not vote in favor (you must against or, at the limit, abstention). also Nuno Carvalho has already decided and tells the Observer that it will vote against. Pedro Pinto, who two years ago abstained in all diplomas, he confirmed to the Observer that he will take the same position this Thursday.
Bench divided over referendum
However, on the eve of the vote, the bench faced a split. Reason: the defense of the referendum. This is because a group of deputies, led by Pedro Rodrigues, announced, in declarations to Lusa on Tuesday, that they would move forward with a referendum initiative on the decriminalization of euthanasia. This Wednesday, the vice president of the bench, Adão Silva told reporters in Parliament that he “did not know” the proposal in question, that it would have been made “by default”Of the management, and therefore would not propose the scheduling of“ nothing ”. “It will not be scheduled because there isn’t even anything I know, I can’t propose to schedule anything that doesn’t exist ”, he said.
The former leader of the Lisbon district, Pedro Pinto, criticized the position of Adão Silva, saying that the PSD cannot “go on defending the alteration of the political system, the morality of politics, saying that the deputies must be independent and must be to represent those who elect them, and, on the other hand, to say ‘yes’ to everything that comes, God knows where ”. Will Rio face a small “rebellion” on the bench from the “no” side?
The ten deputies of the PCP will vote together against euthanasia, in the same way that the 19 members of the Left Bloc will do so favor. The difference is that, as in 2018, there will be a split in the CDU, the PCP and Greens coalition. This is because the two deputies of the ENP, as they had done two years ago, presented their own project in favor of euthanasia.
The five deputies of the CDS – the party that had the fight against euthanasia as a flag – will also vote together in the same way. As for single deputies, the Liberal Initiative will only vote in favor of its own proposal. André Ventura’s Chega will vote against them all.
How did deputies vote in 2018?
Two years ago the PS project did not pass by little and 229 deputies voted. The PSD stand was bigger and the CDS stand was much bigger than it is today. In contrast, the socialist bench has grown considerably. Review here how each member voted at the time: