As a result of the increase in the President’s monthly salary from 170,000 to 280,000 escudos (as well as the consequent increase of the wages of all other political office-holders, whose salaries are tied to those of the President) and the expansion in the perks to be enjoyed by politicians, the bill ended up provoking a wave of protests among citizens. Indeed, Cape Verdeans have expressed their wish to say “no” to the statute, which most appear to believe comes at the wrong time. Many are accusing politicians of promoting perks for their own professional category while calling on the public at large to make sacrifices as a result of the current economic outlook.
President Jorge Carlos Fonseca has downplayed the pressure under which he has been placed, saying that “this is a normal situation” in national politics. The head of state has also rejected the possibility of any sort of political crisis resulting from the statute. What is certain, however, is that Cape Verdeans have never voiced such unanimous protest against a parliamentary bill.
It is now up to the President to decide whether to sign the bill into law, veto the statute, or return it to parliament to “rid” it of its “excesses.” The Political Office-Holder Statute was unanimously approved (with two abstentions) by the National Assembly on March 25.