Sérgio Sousa Pinto condemns travel of Portuguese representatives to Qatar
The socialist Sérgio Sousa Pinto, president of the parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs, who on Monday is going to discuss the visit of the President of the Republic to Qatar, does not agree with that visit. The deputy contradicts the official position of his parliamentary group, which has already announced guaranteeing the approval of the head of state’s visit.
Sousa Pinto’s position was expressed on the Contrapoder program, on CNN Portugal, and it was only because of his expression of agreement with the opinion of his commentary partner, Sebastião Bugalho.
“I don’t think that democratic institutions at the highest level – the President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly of the Republic and the Prime Minister – should go to Qatar to watch the national team’s matches due to the treatment given to workers in Qatar. I find it regrettable. It also seems to me that relativizing these breaches of human rights in Qatar is not good for our political power and I think that, at the most, we should have someone from the parliamentary committee that oversees Sport, perhaps a Secretary of State”, said Sebastião Bugalho.
“Now the President of the Assembly of the Republic, who is campaigning for democratic Portugal, the President of the Republic, who knows very well the importance of defending democratic Portugal, and the Prime Minister sitting on that tribune seems to me a bad service to what the regime represents”, added the same commentator. And, when the moderator was going to continue with the suggestion of books, Sérgio Sousa Pinto made a point of expressing his agreement.
“I would like to say that I agree with Sebastião”, said the deputy who chairs the Foreign Affairs commission that on Monday discusses the trip of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. “Appreciation and vote on the assent opinion for the trip of His Excellency the President of the Republic to the State of Qatar, between November 23 and 25 of the current year, in order to attend the first game of the National Team in the Football World Cup” , is the second item on the committee’s agenda for Monday afternoon.
Marcelo’s trip (and Santos Silva and António Costa, who are going to the second and third games, respectively) became more controversial after President of the Republic made statements in which he devalued disrespect for human rights in that country where the Football World Cup kicks off this Sunday.
As always when the President has to leave the country, authorization from the Assembly of the Republic is required, which the PS and PSD have already guaranteed approval. This displacement could even be voted on after Marcelo returns, since Parliament is in a period of budget debate, not dealing with other matters, nor having votes scheduled. What was going to happen, and has already happened on other occasions, was that the President of Parliament would contact the parliamentary leaders to consult them about the President’s request and the formalization of the vote could be left for the plenary of the 25th, when the Budget for the vote Final .
However, the controversy arose that made the President publicly recalls that his travel depends on Parliament ended up causing the Assembly to treat the matter with more formality. First, with the debate and vote in the committee chaired by Sousa Pinto, then raising the possibility of voting on the authorization in one of the plenary sessions that will take place from Tuesday onwards for budgetary votes on the specialty.
In addition to Marcelo’s trip, Parliament will also, at another time, discuss and vote on the trips of Santos Silva and António Costa. These do not need parliamentary authorization, but the Bloco de Esquerda, a few hours after Marcelo’s controversial statements, presented a draft resolution with which he wants the Assembly of the Republic to “publicly condemn the violation of human rights in Qatar as numerous and repeated” and not to be represented at the Football World Cup. It also proposes that the AAR “proposes the Government not to be represented at the 2022 Football World Cup and publicly condemn it as endlessly and repeatedly with respect to human rights in Qatar, including in the process of preparing this Championship”.