Nuno Melo arrived 45 minutes late, this Saturday, at the Arab Room at Palácio da Bolsa, to present himself as an alternative to Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos as president of the CDS-PP. In a long speech of 50 minutes, without the right to questions and answers, the 55-year-old MEP hit the party’s current leadership hard, especially its leader, who only named it by name once.
In a hall crammed with about 300 militants, where Telmo Correia, leader of the centrist parliamentary bench was not lacking, several posters announced the candidacy slogan ‘Tempo de Construir’ of the challenger Nuno Melo, the MEP who, after having been deputy of the leaders of the CDS-PP Paulo Portas and Assunção Cristas, at the age of 55, has the ambition to preside over the party governed by a young man, 22 years younger.
“Here we defeated the siege of the Crystal Palace, carried out by the extremism that in 1975 wanted to eliminate us by force. This is where the journey begins with which we will overcome the new sieges of those who want the CDS to stop being a fundamental party of Portuguese democracy”, said Nuno Melo in the preamble to the long-awaited announcement that he will be a candidate in the Congress of the party that, this Sunday, day of the National Council, it will be known if it will happen in late November, two months ahead of schedule.
One application, three reasons
As he had already said, Nuno Melo repeated this afternoon that he is running for reasons of conscience, given that this is one of the most difficult moments in the party’s existence. Pulling from the ribbons of his curriculum, he recalled that he has already competed in the CDS’ own lists and in coalitions with the PSD. He is leader of the CDS-PP District of Braga and leader of the Municipal Assembly of the Chamber of Famalicão, has already been a member of the Assembly of the Republic and is in the European Parliament. And that is why he claims not to be able to watch “the fall and muteness of the progressive loss of relevance of the party, fundamental to Portuguese democracy”.
“It’s time to unite and build”, appealed Nuno Melo, who advances that he will vote, in the first place, because he knows – “we all know” – that the CDS is not able to have a good result in legislative elections, if it decides to present up alone. “If the dispute took place today, the result would predictably be painful, as painful it will be in two years’ time”, he guarantees.
“Is the CDS in a position to make a dignified and representative negotiation with the PSD, if this is the scenario that will be placed in the legislatives?”. This is the second question that makes Nuno Melo run and for which he has a ready answer: “Evidently not either”. And it’s not because, in his opinion, the disproportion has gotten bigger since the autarchic ones. “The CDS deliberately erased its mark, while new protagonists (Chega and Iniciativa Liberal) vied for votes in a political area that previously only we occupied, thus gaining muscle and gaining voter loyalty that will be much more difficult to recover.”
Finally, the candidate-challenger made and gave the answer that the audience was expected to hear: “The current CDS leadership will be able to contain and reduce the growth of new parties – such as Chega and IL – putting at risk our relevance as democratic party?”. “Here the answer is also clear: no!”, emphasized Nuno Melo, defending that it is no use pretending that there is no elephant in the room (Ventura).
Outlined the black portrait, Nuno Melo says that, after two years in which the CDS has been talking to the inside, he wants to lead a party that “speaks to the outside” and that, with him at the helm, “gives the militants an opportunity to change the weakness of the party, to strive to gain adhesions, to heal wounds instead of devaluing dismissals and disaffiliations”.
“The CDS cannot want to form a coalition with the PSD on Monday and negotiate State Budgets with the PS on Thursday”, he criticizes, calling for the CDS to return to being a respected party, founder of Portuguese democracy. To convince voters to return to the CDS, the MEP recommends that the party regain a frieze of notables and credibility, recalling historical protagonists such as Adriano Moreira, Raúl Rosado Fernandes, Lobo Xavier, Ferraz da Costa, Miguel Morais Leitão, Pires de Lima, Paulo Portas or Maria José Nogueira Pinto.
“Chega lives off of a person and the exploration of emotional protest. IL is a marketing product, forged in well-thought out billboards, some even ingenious”, summarizes the candidate, who announces that, in early November, his team will promote a Programmatic Convention for 15 strategic areas and will gather 150 in a virtual setting. personalities recognized by merit.
Chicao accused of torturing internal democracy
In an allusion to the opponent, who has also guaranteed that he will re-candidate, the MEP said he had read today that those he will face democratically and with respect “think that from now on the country is over, what matters is winning the Congress”, countering that how he and his allies hope to win Congress has everything to do with how they want to win the country.
“For us, everything is not valid”, he warns, that the values he preaches for were the same ones he will practice in the party. “It’s a matter of principles and values,” he stressed, before jumping into Congress, defending that any dispute implies loyalty, equality of arms and a sense of democratic values, which he says he is not willing to abdicate.
For Nuno Melo, all deadlines provided for in the regulations of the National Council at a distance were violated and the documents necessary for a considered decision have been kept in the drawer until yesterday, a hurry that, he assures, will not prevent him from traveling around the country and autonomous regions to clarify the militants of what they want for the party and the country. Once again without naming Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos, the candidate for CDS leader made it clear whose hand is “torturing the party’s internal democracy”, in one of the most distressing moments of its long existence.
“We will also fight for decency and legality”, said Nuno Melo to applause, convinced that he will win because his is a just cause. Despite believing that he will win the Congress, he guarantees, however, that the party will not disband, nor will he ever leave the CDS: “Unless they no longer wanted us”, he concedes, recalling that it was in the CDS that he was born for politics and is where you want to be.
In an appeal to join efforts, the former leader of the centrist bench warns that his going to the polls is not a one-man project, but rather a challenge that will only be possible with the commitment of many. And among the many, Nuno Melo, who barely crossed paths with Chicão in the municipal campaign, took the opportunity to thank the presence of mayors elected by the CDS on their own lists, such as José Pinheiro and Miguel Paiva, in Vale de Cambra, Duarte Novo, mayor de Oliveira do Bairro, António Loureiro, from Albergaria a Velha, and the Azorean Luís Silveira, from Câmara das Velas, in Flores, named as true heroes of election night and whose results no one can appropriate.