On the 25th of April that unites us and has separated us for a long time | Opinion

The question is outdated and it is with some delay that I write that, if I were a deputy, I would have been against the possibility of Lula da Silva speaking in the formal session of the 25th of April. It makes sense that he should be received with all the circumstances in Parliament and other political institutions, it even makes sense that he should speak at different times, but opening the stage of the Assembly of the Republic on a day like this to a foreign head of state, even if he is president of a sister country, is a precedent that I would not set. Today the PS is in power and it is Lula da Silva, at any other time the protagonists will be others and the precedent would be open.

I’ve already had heated discussions on the subject — just listen to this week’s Public Power podcast —, but the truth is that at this point it no longer matters what I think about the subject. Lula da Silva will come to Portugal, participate without intervening in the commemorations of the 25th of April that will take place in the Parliament and will have the right to his own solemn session, on the 25th in the afternoon, to be received by the deputies. I think it’s a good solution.

During all this controversy, I ended up doing some reading and remembering other hot moments related to the celebration of the Carnation Revolution in Parliament:

  • the refusal of the PSD and the CDS, from an early age, to wear the red carnation on the lapel;
  • the year 1993, when Mário Soares took the “party” to the Belém Tower, to join the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Discoveries;
  • the 1992 boycott, which pitted PSD and journalists and led Soares to cancel the session in Parliament;
  • the dissolution of the Assembly, in March 2011, which forced the date to be marked in Belém and not in São Bento;
  • the years of troikain which the Captains of April, as well as Mário Soares and Manuel Alegre, refused to participate in the formal session;
  • the 40 years of the 25th of April without a speech by the “captains”, who had asked to speak;
  • and, finally, the controversy over whether or not to join a hundred deputies in the hemicycle in the year of the pandemic (2020).

What I also found out (and not only did I not know how my argument from precedents came to fall) is that in 1989, for the first and only time, there was an element outside the country who spoke in the Assembly of the Republic during the commemorations of the 25th of April.

This year, Carmen Pereira was presentpresident of the National Popular Assembly of Guinea-Bissau, who said, among other things: “We want, on behalf of the Guinean people, to pay a profound tribute to the Portuguese people, who, understanding the irreversible evolution of History, decided to travel, with our peoples, a new path of peace, freedom and friendship.”

People will tell me that inviting the President of the Parliament of a Portuguese-speaking country is different from inviting a President of the Republic. For me it is not. I would continue to vote against the Guinean woman’s speech — not in that forum, obviously, but on that date and occasion. Be that as it may (and I speak against this), Lula would not exactly be the first “foreigner” to speak on “our” April 25th.

In the end, what makes me happy is celebrating April and, because of it, being able to have an opinion and express it. Long live democracy!

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