It was half an hour before the first campaign action, when the first members of the PAN entourage arrived at Montijo Air Base No. 6. And one detail stood out: they all wore wellies on their feet. Later, Inês de Sousa Real also arrived, wearing… red wellies. The objective was to defend that the construction of the new Montijo airport, on the left bank of the Tagus River, is a mistake and that the project will “take water”. In a symbolic gesture, the PAN spokeswoman – which defends Beja’s alternative – wanted to warn that the area will be “flooded” within three decades and that this option is a “red line” for the party.
“The one who drew this red line was not just the PAN. It’s the next generations and science, it’s the studies that somehow tell us that it’s not possible to be building an airport here, because it’s an area that will be flooded. It is nonsense to be building the airport here”, he maintained.
Stating that that option is in “counter-cycle with the fight against the climate crisis”, Sousa Real also warned that there are three routes for birds in the region, which puts air safety itself at risk. And he insisted that all alternatives must be evaluated, including Beja, as agreed in Parliament.
“We cannot say in one day that we want to promote territorial cohesion and defend the interior and then, when there are alternatives that allow this, the alternatives are completely rejected by the economic interests of private individuals”, he insisted.
Confronted by journalists about Manuel Alegre’s opinion article in “Público” – which spoke out today against the possibility of the PS remaining “dependent on the PAN” – the PAN leader considered that the socialist history will have to “update” against “anachronistic practices”, such as bullfighting and hunting, and will have to conform to the “generational leap” that existed in “terms of sensitivity towards all forms of life and towards the planet”. And he came out in defense of a society with “more empathy” and “respect for all beings”.
As for the appeal by the Confederação de Agricultores Portugueses (CAP) to reject the vote for the PS, since it admits to allying with the PAN, Inês de Sousa Real again accused this corporation of representing the established interests of certain sectors, such as bullfighting, to which the party is directly opposed.
“CAP attacks the only party that has truly defended agriculture and the rural world. And CAP, once again, comes to defend the great economic interests, be it the bullfighting lobby, or the companies that are intensively and super-intensively exploring our territory”, he attacked.
Pamphlets with vegan recipes and the ‘how many you want’ game
Alongside Vítor Pinto, head of the PAN list for Setúbal, Sousa Real went to the river beach of Samouco, accompanied by more supporters. But few. And still wearing wellies, they went down to the water area and posed for a symbolic photo. As they took a selfie, dozens of shellfish gatherers arrived with buckets of pounds of Japanese clams. “It is one of the most invasive species. Here, people from Asian countries, from the East, among others, arrive here every day to catch this bivalve. There are no inspection actions. That’s also why the PAN is needed”, shoots a supporter.
Afterwards, the PAN entourage walked the streets in the center of Almada to distribute pamphlets among esplanades, shops and gardens. Even next to McDonalds, where some young people were enjoying a hamburger, Sousa Real did not hesitate to distribute a flyer. “Can I give you a leaflet?” he asks. “It gives a very nice contrast”, comments the head of the list for Setúbal. “It’s good for them to start studying and seeing alternatives”, says Sousa Real.
“PAN advocates that young people can vote from the age of 16. Do you agree with this measure?”, he asks. “Hmmm… I think I’m not yet mature enough to vote”, replies one of the members of the group.
On socialist grounds, after the CDU lost its historic autarchy in 2017, the PAN spokeswoman tried to seduce the electorate. But she was still cautious. He gave some adults and seniors markers with the recipe for a vegan stew and pamphlets with the main measures of the program. But it was, above all, with the young people he was with the most. And he handed out pamphlets that become the ‘how many you want’ game. The PAN would not be assumed as a “party of the future”, which defends flags such as the fight against climate change.
“How many do you want? And now which animal do you choose?”, asks Inês. “I choose the cat”, answers Rúben, 11 years old. “Create a network of public veterinary hospitals, do you think this is good?”, asks the PAN spokeswoman. Reuben, shakes his head and says “yes, it’s cool”. “If a child understands, then everyone will have to understand. I think when you’re an adult you’ll vote for PAN”, he says, laughing.
Confidence in recovering Setubal
The day ended with a campaign action in the Port of Sines. Deputy Nelson Silva joined Inês de Sousa Real in the late afternoon to raise awareness of the problem of transporting live animals. An activist from the Platform Anti Transport of Live Animals (PATAV) was there, who warned that sheep and cattle were being transported to the Gulf Livestock ship. Just as he spoke, four truckloads of animals passed.
According to the official, the transport of these animals by sea has increased, which stood at 9,000 in 2016 and rose to 400,000 in 2020. “The vast majority contain illegalities”, he explained, pointing to cases of broken horns, fractures. and blindness caused by poor conditions on board. “This form of animal transport is completely unworthy. The economy cannot leverage the suffering of animals”, warned Sousa Real.
In the end, the PAN spokeswoman said she was confident that the party will regain the lost place in Parliament, with the departure of Cristina Rodrigues, elected in 2019 by Setúbal: “We are completely convinced that we will regain our place”.