June 3, 2011

Portuguese legislative election is next Sunday


Sunday Portugal will have a legislative election. José Sócrates the ex-Prime Minister was forced to resign after six years of mismanagement. President called for elections. For the last months people have been coping with unfair social measures and austerity budgets one after the other. We saw the biggest political demonstration of displease ever happening on the streets this year. A few are richer and powerful, a few are holding privileges, keeping the best jobs, pulling the strings. Middle class is ruined. The number of poor people is rising. All those who are responsible for this situation should be held accountable. And this includes the ex-Prime Minister. Can’t understand how he was re-elected for Secretary-General of his party, the PS, after resigning is job at Government. For me he’s discredited beyond recovery. Not all the situation we’re in is his responsibility. Europe construction as it was dreamed is trembling. The market shaped by capitalism is trembling and many say that a new economical era is already in the making. But he should have taken measures a long time ago. Portuguese economy is ruined, we lost social rights, justice isn’t working and corruption grew. Our health system that was better than USA’s has suffered cuts, unemployment is growing. People will have less money to spend. Portuguese are known to save the day in the last minute. It’s called “desenrascar”. This time I don’t think the new Government will do it whatever it might be. We’re in deep trouble. I can say that I am with serious difficulties myself. Each day I get fewer solicitations for graphic work. When I answer jobs ads I know that I’m competing against 500 people or more and I am not picky. I have superior education and several other skills because I like to learn so I never stopped improving my knowledge. I have also experience in several different professional areas. It’s not enough. I’m not getting younger. Employers prefer young people especially if they are fresh from university. Young people can do internships for practice. These are for free in the first three months. This is new regulation out this month. Before this measure companies could get free workers for 6 months or more. Companies can also hire these professional newcomers and getting financial help from the Government for a year. This facilitates untrained professionals to get experience. If they are lucky they stay in the company where they trained after that period. This is cool for young people. Not for me. There are no jobs for everyone.
So on Sunday I must fulfill my civic obligation and vote. What are the options? The PSD (Social Democrats) and PS(Socialist Party), CDS-PP(Christian Democrats – Conservatives). All these are centre-right, even PS these days. Then we have left parties – The Left Block and CDU, the Communist party, and some smaller parties with little expression like the ecologist party – The Green Party or PAN – a new party interested in animals and nature and sustainability.I really don’t believe my vote will make any difference. The country is in such a bad shape that it will need at least 10-20 years to recover. It has been 37 years since 1974 Carnation Revolution. Portuguese democracy is still young and has become more imperfect. And we are stupid because we should have demanded proper management from the Government a long time ago. Instead we let it roll. Portugal never rose to the change the country needed to face the demands of European Community in 1986. EU membership meant a lot of money poured but it was bad managed by Governments. Since that time we lost our industry. Portugal has plenty arable land and vast coast with one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones. Orders were to stop the plough of the land and to destroy fishing boats. Now a huge effort is being imposed on the population and all those who had the power to do things right but messed up are out here enjoying the precious sun, accommodated in some luxurious hotel and playing golf. Life is not fair.

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