Politics

A SEMANA : Primeiro di?rio caboverdiano em linha

Two “States of the Nation”: hope for the PAICV, an emergency for the MpD 27 Julho 2015

The final plenary session of the National Assembly for the current parliamentary year kicks off today, July 27, with the debate on the State of the Nation – a crucial moment in Cape Verdean politics in which the performance of the government led by Prime Minister José Maria Neves will be pored over, when the executive will lay its cards on the table and boast of its accomplishments, while the opposition (MpD and UCID) will attempt to show where the government has failed. This week, the single state that is Cape Verde will be seen from two different and antagonistic points of view: the governing PAICV sees a “confident nation with great self-esteem both at home and in the diaspora.” The MpD, meanwhile, has declared a “state of emergency in the rural areas and a critical situation on the national level.” The parliamentary leaders of the two main political parties represented in the National Assembly spoke to the press regarding their respective preparations for this month’s session of parliament, the high point of which will be the State of the Nation debate.

Two “States of the Nation”: hope for the PAICV, an emergency for the MpD

A Cape Verde “with more certainties than doubts regarding the future” is what PAICV parliamentary leader Felisberto Vieira sees when analyzing the state of the Cape Verdean nation. From the point of view of human capital, the progress that has been made is, in his words, “extraordinary,” with the PAICV parliamentary whip pointing to the more than 20,000 students in institutions of higher learning, resulting in a university education penetration rate close to that in the European Union. He also mentioned social programs as among the major gains of the executive led by premier José Maria Neves. For these and other reasons, Vieira concludes that Cape Verdean democracy is “consolidated.” He nevertheless acknowledged three major challenges that haunt the country’s development: unemployment, poverty and social inequalities. Even so, he states his belief that Cape Verde is a “confident nation with great self-esteem at home and in the diaspora.”

When questioned regarding the wave of strikes currently taking place in the country, he stressed union’s legitimacy and right to call “the strikes they believe to be pertinent” to improve the working conditions of the laborers they represent. He nevertheless highlighted the fact that the government has so far managed to approve two Strategic Coordination Accords for the current legislature, and defended the government, saying that “there are ulterior motivations in this pre-election period.” TACV Cabo Verde Airlines is another issue of concern, particularly regarding the recent increase in the price of tickets to the United States, but Vieira expressed confidence that the “normal” airfare will soon be resumed.

MpD considers Cape Verde to be in state of emergency

The MpD, however, sees the country’s future with less optimism, and has, indeed, declared a “state of emergency in rural areas and a critical situation on the national level.” The MpD’s parliamentary leader, Fernando Elísio Freire, intends to deconstruct the PAICV’s enthusiasm, affirming that “all governments have results to show,” but that these results “should be presented globally, and not because one or two things have been done well.”

Even after investing 550 billion escudos, the results of José Maria Neves’ governance is, in Freire’s view, a higher unemployment rate and the lowest average growth rate of the past 25 years, a clear increase in taxes, resulting in the reduction of Cape Verdeans’ purchasing power, a climate of instability and unease in the country’s main institutions, and regulations that are neither accepted nor followed. In terms of the recent wave of strikes, Freire affirms that the government should take on the responsibilities it agreed to in the Social Coordination Council and fulfill its promises.

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