Rui Rio presented the reduction in the number of deputies from 230 to 215 within the scope of the reform of the electoral system, in a “moderate” proposal to reach an agreement, but admits that he would like it to be “more bold”, with fewer elected representatives: 211. Decomposes the five larger circles (Oporto in four and Lisbon in five) and creates a compensation circle. The leader criticized the government for not wanting to reform and said that “the PS system is getting rotten”. National territory circles increase from 20 to 30.
The PSD bill will enter the Assembly of the Republic after the autarchic ones, said the president of the party, admitting “small adjustments”. The PSD proposal breaks down the continent’s five largest circles. There are a total of 30 national territory constituencies that elect 176 deputies, a compensation constituency that elects 34 deputies and assigns one more mandate to the constituency in Europe. It thus reaches 215 deputies. There are two deputies outside the circle of Europe and three from Europe. It reduces the size of the circles that elect a minimum of three and a maximum of nine deputies.
Attributing the “moderate” proposal to the fact that the PS “is the most conservative party”, and it is not possible to carry out this reform without the socialists in an Assembly that is also “conservative”, he explained that the objective of the PSD was to have a Parliament whose composition is between “181 and 215” elected (instead of 180 to 230 as today). If there was an opening of the Assembly, “it was even preferable to reduce it to 211”, admitted Rio, considering that this number would be “accommodating”.
“The secretary general of the PS doesn’t want to change anything and if he wanted the party wouldn’t let him,” he accused Rui Rio, saying that this reform will only be done by “pressure from public opinion.” He guaranteed that the proportionality or representation of the parties was not in question, and said he wanted to “mitigate” the asymmetries between the coast and the interior, as well as bring the elected representatives to the electorate.
Decomposes five larger circles, PS and PSD lose more
“It is a balanced reform, open to a broad commitment”, argued the main Opposition party in Pedrógão Grande. David Justino, who coordinates the working group, even says that it is a “minimalist” reduction so that this reform of the electoral system is not carried out because of the decrease in the number of deputies. And he explains that the proposal only moves in the five largest circles: Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Lisbon, Setúbal. They are decomposed into more circles. “Nobody loses out in proportional terms”, he insisted, saying he was concerned about “not harming the small parties”, with the biggest cuts being in the two main parties: PS and PSD.
Harbor Circle divided into four
The circle in the district of Porto (which now elects 40) would be divided into four. The proposal foresees three circles with seven deputies each: Gaia-Gondomar; Douro Interior; Northwest Douro. And one with six elected: Porto-Matosinhos.
The Lisbon constituency, for example (which elects 48 elected), would be divided into five different constituencies: Lisbon (nine elected), Cascais-Oeiras (six), Amadora-Odivelas-Loures (eight), Sintra (6) and West (seven).
Quotient method and one bonus per circle
The PSD guarantees that “the reduction to 215 deputies, if accompanied by complementary changes, does not affect proportionality”. And the distribution of mandates “should be done using the quotient method and not the Hondt method, in order to ensure a more balanced distribution”.
Also according to the proposal, the attribution of a bonus of one mandate per circle favors circles with less representation and guarantees greater territorial balance.
The 30-circle scenario (by dividing the five largest) “enables better knowledge of the candidates, has reduced political costs and improves territorial justice”. By applying the quotient, a maximum of nine and a minimum of three mandates per circle in the national territory is fixed.
With regard to the National Compensation Circle, the proposal states that the combined effect of the reduction in the number of deputies and the decomposition of the larger circles requires a compensation circle that guarantees the proportionality and representation of small parties.
In the clearing circle, voters have a single ballot paper. The Hondt method is applied to the two autonomous regions and to the 18 districts, as it is currently done. The 176 mandates assigned by territorial and emigration circles are subtracted. And you get the 34 mandates distributed by different political forces, he explains.
The Social Democrats claim that with the 215 elected, the following is achieved: “more efficiency, guaranteeing the same proportionality; it reduces the risk of ties and ungovernability; it reduces territorial asymmetries with complementary measures; and presupposes the replacement of the Hondt method by the quotient in the distribution of mandates by circles”.
In comparison, he claims that the 230 model means “territorial asymmetry of constituencies; risk of fragmentation of the party offer; reduced identification of voters with candidates and elected representatives; and favors large constituencies and major political parties.”
Reduction by party
According to the table that supports the reduction to 215 deputies, the PS would change from 108 to 101 mandates (-7), the PSD from 79 to 74 (-5), the Left Bloc from 19 to 18 (minus one), the PCP from 12 to 11 (minus one), the CDS from five to four (minus one), and the other political forces would keep the same number: four for PAN and one for Chega, Liberal and Livre Initiative.
Reply to Santos Silva: “PS system getting rotten”
At the end of this week’s debate on the state of the nation, Santos Silva, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, said he was against the constitutional and electoral system revision proposed by the PSD.
“It’s a bad and usual sign for the PS”, still without knowing the proposals, so that nothing can be done, Rui Rio reacted, saying that the PS “is a system that is getting rotten”.
The PSD leader had already expressed disbelief in the possibility of reaching any agreement with the PS on this and other matters: “this is hardly ever achieved with this PS”, which is “supported by the BE and the PCP”, but that remains for the PSD present the proposals and then the socialists “vote or they don’t vote, or they accept or they don’t”, he declared at the time.
In the PSD’s electoral program for the legislative ones, the party defends “the introduction of an urgent reform of the electoral law for the Assembly of the Republic”, which “enhances the approximation between elected and voters”, with “reduction in the number of deputies”, but without calling into question proportionality.