At the end of the National Council, in Sagres, with the program, disciplinary regulations and electoral regulations approved, André Ventura spoke in a document “without fear”, “without fear of the future”, in which the party “did not budge”. “We are not the fluffy right wing Portugal was used to”, shot André Ventura this Saturday, to justify that Chega is not the Liberal Initiative, the PSD or the CDS. The leading party said, “don’t walk in bed with António Costa” and is in Parliament to “oppose”.
With the forces aimed at local elections, Ventura knows that he is accompanied by his “generals” to go to the “war”, he once again insisted on the objective of being the third party with the most votes, hopes to get mayors across the country and leaves two certainties: one Extraordinary National Council after elections with the purpose of evaluating the results and accountability for the results. “If the result is bad, it will always be the responsibility of its president and I will be here on the 26th [de setembro]”, guaranteed. The translation of this responsibility did not say, but, in an interview with the Observer, he had already said that these are not presidential or legislative elections and that only those are his position in question.
Still far from voting day, André Ventura is proud that Chega stays on its path, unlike parties like the Liberal Initiative and the CDS that believe they will “scream victory”, but chose to go “lying down and wrapped up” with the PSD. “If we have ambitious goals, we must assume them in Portuguese society, enough of us saying, as other parties do, that they are going to have such a vote, but they are in coalitions all over the country”, he shot, criticizing “the so-called adversaries on the right”.
In the eyes of the party’s number one, the program now approved “it is without a doubt the best of the parliamentary parties in Portugal”. And being the opposition and the Government is at the top of the priorities of a party that is just over three years old and, even more aware that the result of this National Council allows us not to abdicate the red lines that have been defined, André Ventura threw himself at the critics, to those who thought that Chega “had no program”, that the ideas were “screaming” and “show off“. Now, he said, “they will say zero” because “this is a program for the future of Portugal”.
Seeing Sagres as a “kick in history”, Ventura reinforced the idea that the reform of justice and politics are points that the party does not abdicate and turned to Rui Rio: “These knees only bend to kiss the motherland.” About António Costa, the certainty that he is “adversary” number one, along with “socialism”.
External criticism is common, but this time André Ventura insisted on internal discipline so that the party does not miss the opportunity to make a difference. Even because, he stresses, “the Portuguese will never realize that such a party has been lost”. “This party cannot demand discipline from the Portuguese, Portugal, the Government and the Assembly of the Republic every day and to be the most undisciplined party in parliamentary democracy in Portugal”, admitted the president of the party. Despite this, de Sagres, he believes, the party does not come out “unanimous”, but comes out “united”.
The National Council of Chega approved by majority the new program of the party, no votes against and one abstention. On the second day of the most important meeting between congresses, party councilors generally approved the document, discussed additions and substitutions of some of the points and reached a common document. When all the points were approved, Luís Graça announced: “I have to inform you that we have a program”. It was the consecration of the First Enough program discussed among board members. The information was received by the management and those present at the party, between hugs. The first of them between André Ventura, the party’s president, and Gabriel Mithá Ribeiro, the coordinator of the study office and head of the new Chega program.
The day was marked by what Mithá Ribeiro was proud of: “We are here to discuss policy.” Although the vast majority of points in the new program were not changed, there was discussion, additions and substitutions in more than 15 points. Among the suggestions, some were accepted by the management and by the study office and promptly included in the program, others even reached votes.
Among the additions of several councilors, André Ventura was one of the first to take the stage and suggested the inclusion of life imprisonment for “more serious and violent crime” in the new Chega program, which only proposed an “increase in the maximum penal framework” for violent crimes, terrorism, organized crime, corruption, arson and sexual crimes against minors. In addition to the inclusion of this penalty, something that was already in the 2019 document, the party also left in writing that “refuses participation in a parliamentary or government coalition that makes this solution unfeasible” — a warning already made to the PSD by André Ventura. This suggestion was unanimously approved by the National Council.
The party president even proposed that the idea of ethnic-racial registry — an expression used by the leader of Chega on the first day of the National Council. The goal is to create a register of a community nature in which an attempt is made to understand the “problems of subsidiarity dependence”, with information of “criminal or behavioral nature”. This proposal also had the ‘green light’ of 73 councilors, with no votes against and with one abstention.
Enough guarantees that he only accepts to belong to a Government that defends life imprisonment and defends “ethnic-racial registration”
In the intervention on the first day of the National Council, the president of Chega had said that “the party must defend not only the identification of subsidized communities, where they are located, what is the prevalence of subsidy dependence, what is the level of subsidy dependence”, since for André Ventura it is imperative that minorities comply “the same rules that the majority comply with, without privileges, without concessions, whether at the fiscal level, or at the level of social rules, or at the level of behavioral rules”.
In order to solve the “problem with the Roma community and with other communities”, the party president warned of the need to lose the “fear” in talking about minorities and defended the existence of a “ethnic-racial register” that would be “unique within the EU”. A proposal that, under another name, ended up being included in the new program after discussion in the National Council.
The National Council of Chega decided that the party is “nationalist” and not “patriotic-nationalist”. After the proposal of the board member Patrícia Almeida that suggested joining the two words, André Ventura decided to keep the suggestion of the direction and the study office, which was approved with 66 votes in favour, 12 against and one abstention. In the new program, it is read that Chega is nationalist for “rescuing the identity, historical and civilizational value of the national feeling, subjugated to the moral primacy of self-responsibility, the [sentimento nacional] it generated, generates and will generate unparalleled collective virtues”.
One of the first points of discussion was an “and/or”. At issue was the possibility that people without Portuguese nationality, but who had been nationalized, may or may not have access to “benefits and incentives that promote increased birth rates”. Pedro Santos Martins, one of the councilors, warned that many immigrants have been living in Portugal for several years, “even longer than in their countries of origin” and Nuno Afonso, member of the board, warned of the possibility of extending themselves the incentives if at least one of the members of the couple was Portuguese.
On the other hand, counselor Nelson Dias da Silva defended the opposite, stating that in this case they would be privileging policies with which Chega does not agree, stressing that “privileging law to support those who obtained nationality as they obtained it is to privilege crime ”. Most of those present chose to give preference to the proposal of the study office, which only includes people with “Portuguese origin and nationality”.
Regarding immigration, the former vice-president of Chega admitted that he was against “quotas” and proposed to exclude any indication of program quotas, even asking that a “list with the professions and numbers of people the country needs”, as happens, for example, with visas for those who want to go to work in Australia. André Ventura took the stage to clarify the matter, making it clear that the leadership is not opposed to a “migratory regulation based on points”, but asked for consistency: “Last week we presented a proposal with quotas for immigration to the Assembly of the Republic Muslim in Europe, we cannot say now that we are against quotas.”
In the follow-up, André Ventura stressed that “Islamic immigration is not the same as other immigration”, giving examples such as Brussels, Paris and London, in which, he said, when you leave the center you “truly enter Saudi Arabia”. “In regarding Islamic immigration we must have quotas, in others there may even be zero quota”, he stressed, stressing that this Islamic immigration has to be regulated because “one day we will have a very serious problem in Portuguese territory”. At the end of the discussion, the title changed from “free movement of people” to “controlled and responsible immigration”, it was decided that quotas are to be maintained and that the points model is to be included.
On the market, after the combination of changes proposed by Nuno Afonso and economist Pedro Arroja, responsible for the economic part of the new program, the National Council agreed to change the word “regulates” to “promote”. In the final text, it was written that Chega is “liberal” and that “the market promotes the economy better than the State”.
The idea of the “natural family” once again marked the debate at the National Council of Chega, with one of the councilors launching the challenge of changing the way this point was written in the program – “O Chega recognizes and respects different models of family, but considers the natural family, based on the intimate relationship between a woman and a man, a psychosociological and socioeconomic reality prior to the State, historically stable and humanly irreplaceable.”
After several opinions, the National Council approved the change to remove the word “recognises”, having remained in the new program that “Enough respects other models of sharing life, but considers the natural family, based on the intimate relationship between a woman and a man”. One of the counselors justified the importance of remove the word “recognize” by highlighting that this could “set precedents for other situations such as adoption by homosexual couples”, stressing that “André Ventura has always recognized that [se aceita] but it is not something natural”. “If we only respect it, we don’t exclude it, but we don’t recognize it either”, shot. The National Council accepted and approved the new description.
The issue of abortion was also on the table, with different opinions, some considering that the “inviolability of human life” already answers the issue of abortion and others with the opposite opinion. In order to reach a consensus, André Ventura proposed an addition in which he adds to the part of the “inviolability of human life” that this must happen “in all its phases and dimensions with all the legal consequences arising therefrom”. Without referring to the word abortion and without wanting to suggest a “criminalization proposal”, the idea was implicit in the program and the initial proposal was withdrawn by councilor Filipe Melo.