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President listens to voice of the people, vetoes Political Office-Holder Statute 09 Abril 2015

President Jorge Carlos Fonseca has vetoed the recently passed Public Office-Holder Statute. The head of state has, in this way, given an opportunity for the nation’s legislators, in coordination with the government, to review and reconsider the bill in light of the concerns – and outrage – expressed by citizens and apply fair criteria of need, adequacy and proportionality to its provisions. In his address to the nation announcing the veto, the President also called for the sharing of sacrifices, and asked all public office holders to be encompassed, establishing alignments based on principles and fair and coherent rules of remuneration, in accordance with the responsibility and complexity of the posts in question and with the availability of resources.

President listens to voice of the people, vetoes Political Office-Holder Statute

The head of state said that it would be impossible not be sensitive to the tone and meaning of the protests against the law, despite his disagreement with some of the discourses produced in justification thereof. His conviction comes despite the unanimous vote on the part of the nation’s legislators, which had been preceded by intense negotiation between the parliamentary representations of the three political parties with seats in the National Assembly.

“As such, I hereby veto this bill, in order to allow the legislators, as representatives of the people, in coordination with the government, to have the opportunity to review the document in light of the legitimate concerns expressed by citizens, of the new facts and information produced during the course of this process and of the application of just criteria of need, adequateness and proportionality,” he affirmed.

The head of state asked the nation’s legislators to make their decision conscientiously and without giving in to demagogy, attending to the country’s actual conditions and to the need to exercise political functions within a framework of accountability, transparency and compatibility with available public resources, always within a logic of the application of said criteria to all public offices.

The President also took the opportunity to challenge members of parliament to strengthen the relationship between the Political Office-Holder Statute, along with the perks and rights it proposes, and the country’s current economic and social situation, in order to obtain a better balance between the need for the statute and its compatibility. Only in this way, said the President, will they be able to establish ties that strengthen the understanding between politicians and citizens and help to increase the legitimacy of their options and maintain social cohesion.

“It is my conviction that, in the present outlook, and in the face of the concerns expressed and information made public, it would be pertinent to reconsider the Political Office-Holder Statute within a wider framework,” he affirmed.

Nevertheless, in making use of his prerogative as Cape Verde’s highest magistrate, Jorge Carlos Fonseca criticized what he saw as a certain political advantage-taking and disparaging of legislators’ role, with some voices making use of unfair, undeserved and even, in some cases, slanderous words to qualify the members of parliament. He reminded the nation that political offices, in order to be held with competence and responsibility, require statutes appropriate to the functions at hand, without, naturally, neglecting the country’s material and financial conditions at every given point in time.

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