The PSD president announced on Monday that he was re-registering with the party leadership and had also confirmed that he intended to bring the Social Democratic parliamentary leader to Congress in early February. Rui Rio said his bid is aimed at avoiding "a serious fragmentation of unforeseen consequences" for the future of the PSD.
The announcement was made in the late afternoon in Porto, more than two weeks after the election.
October 6, in which the Social Democrats win
27.7% of the votes against 36.3% of the CBC.
"What is at stake is too important for my decision to be different. Therefore, I am available to play in the upcoming internal elections, to lead the opposition in front of the Socialist Party government and to lead the PSD in the next local elections. "said the party president.
On election night, Rui Rio announced that he would "calmly and carefully" assess his political future. Now, the Social Democrat leader points out that the decision has taken into account personal and professional life, but "numerous appeals in the past few weeks have been made to me by dozens of people inside and outside the party."
Rui Rio shows a willingness to compete in internal elections whereas failure to reuse could lead the party "to serious fragmentation, with unpredictable consequences for its future"and underlining that it happened "with the other major European parties".
"The PSD needs leadership that defends social democracy and keeps the party in the political center, not allowing it to become an ideologically empty party force or an endlessly liberal profile," he added.
The Social Democratic leader also recalled the election result as an additional responsibility factor: "Almost 28 percent of the vote in the recent legislative election means that one and a half million Portuguese people trust the PSD with this leadership, not with whom it did everything to destroy it.".
"That is why I am available to fight all the troubles inherent in the office of the opposition leader, which is one of the most difficult to execute in a representative democracy. However, I am not available to face disloyalty and constant internal boycotts, as I had to do so without interruption from my inauguration."Said the PSD president.
Criticism of opponents
Not to mention Luis Montenegro's name, Rui Rio recalled the "regrettable blow last January, when some tried to do to PSD what had been done at PSC in 2014, and so far criticized". Addressing the challenge to the PSD leadership by the former chairman of the parliamentary bench, who is now running again against Rui Rio in direct elections.
On October 9, three days after the elections, Montenegro announced that it would run for the post of PSD president in the following directives. Last week Miguel Pinto Luz, a former Lisbon district leader, announced that he would also be in the race.
On two opposing candidacies, Rui Rio sums it up: "Being Prime Minister of Portugal involves a great deal of political and professional experience, very specific personal characteristics and, above all, tremendous personal reach to perform such a difficult task. Therefore, this function should not be performed by those who persistently want it or by those who refuse it outright. The former, because it is separated in its vanity and personal ambition, does not even grasp the dimension of what it proposes. Second, because there would be no soul power necessary for such great responsibility."
"In a democratic and civilized party, what is required of all is that after the internal elections, it is loyal and respects the majority will of the militants. The rules of the Democrats are these, not those of vanity, ambition, interest be it the PSC and not the PSD itself, "he added.
Speaker of Parliament to Congress
Rui Rio also confirmed that he would be the leader of the PSD parliamentary group. "As far as the leadership of the new PSD parliamentary group is concerned, in my opinion it is the understanding, in line with what I have always advocated, that it should be in line with the party president elected in the meantime," he explained.
"I will take over the leadership of the bench alone, so that the new parliamentary leader will be finally elected only after the next National Congress."Rui Rio said, noting that this is an" extraordinary situation "arising from the vicinity of the same congress.
After that moment, Rio promises to be present at the Assembly of the Republic "fundamentally in major national debates". Even before the election campaign, the PSD president admitted there was "no particular enthusiasm for being a deputy".
"While it is true that in specific situations of particular importance the opposition leader will be able to use the plenary of the Assembly to clarify his position, it is no less certain that it is not his job to feed parliamentary life," he argues. .
Rui Rio said he would run with "total separation" and tranquility in case of victory or defeat "because I have done my duty to the party, to the country and to my conscience".
Regarding the position of the Social Democrats in parliament as the leader of the bench, Rui Rio points out that the coming months will be marked by debate on the government's program and the presentation of the state budget. As for the style of opposition in the Parliament, he assured: "There are those who are in politics in a permanent election campaign, it's nothing like me."
In response to journalists' questions, the PSD president reiterated that direct elections would be held in January and Congress in February. Specific dates will be set by the National Council on November 8.