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State of the Nation to be debated in National Assembly 27 Julho 2009

The National Assembly will be in session between today and Wednesday in order to hold the traditional State of the Nation debate and to vote on a series of bills on resolutions. Over the past 15 days, the political parties with seats in parliament have been preparing for the debate, considered a high point in the annual parliamentary agenda.

The final State of the Nation debate, scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, is being anxiously awaited by the opposition, which will have its chance to evaluate the governing party’s performance, question the decisions it has made and show the electorate what it would have done differently if it were in power. The governing party, for its part, will also use the debate to list its feats and promote the transformation of Cape Verde that it has undertaken since the PAICV won the legislative elections in 2001 and again in 2006. In this intensive and exhausting face-off, which lasts an entire day, discourse between majority and opposition forces often devolves from a debate of ideas and arguments into gratuitous personal attacks.

In this year’s State of the Nation debate, the international financial crisis is likely to be one of the most oft-cited issues. The opposition is also expected to discuss sensitive matters such as unemployment, the country’s debt, poverty and the always turbulent relationship between municipal authorities and the central government.

Based on information gathered by A Semana Online, the opposition is expected to take advantage of the debate to question the government on the worsening of a number of socio-economic indicators in recent times.

Indeed, according to MpD leader Jorge Santos, the government’s poor policies have resulted in a slowdown in the pace of foreign investment, a wide-reaching crisis in the tourist real-estate sector and an increase in unemployment, especially in the country’s urban centers.

The majority PAICV, for its part, will attempt to show that, despite the international crisis, the country is in good health. Indeed, the recent meeting of the party’s Political Commission acknowledged that the executive, led by Prime Minister José Maria Neves, has recently unveiled a number of important public works, especially in the areas of road construction and port and airport improvements. These projects, according to the governing party, came in addition to important programs “such as the mobilization of water and the production of energy, as well as the attention being given to social areas, including education, health, professional training, employment, the fight against poverty and the strengthening of social cohesion.”

In addition to the debate on the State of the Nation, this month’s plenary session of the National Assembly will also see debates and votes on a number of proposals, including a bill aimed at establishing the norms intended to regulate the State Business Sector.

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