The seven deputies of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) who violated the voting discipline, imposed by the board in the vote to end the fortnightly debates with the prime minister, should only know the deliberation of the National Jurisdiction Council (CJN) in September. The body that functions as a kind of PSD 'court' should, however, release the deputies, because the leadership did not comply with the internal rules of the parliamentary group.
According to the president of the CJN of the PSD, Paulo Colaço, the decision on the 'punishment' to be applied to the deputies who voted against the end of fortnightly debates with the prime minister, contrary to what was the voting direction defined by the social- Democrat "is not an urgent issue". "Not being an urgent topic, it will be scheduled for the first meeting of the National Jurisdiction Council, in September", said to the agency Lusa Paulo Colaço.
The decision comes after, on the 29th of July, the parliamentary leader and president of the PSD, Rui Rio, participated in the CJN in the breaking of the voting discipline by the seven social-democratic deputies. “The aforementioned deputies broke their duties with the parliamentary group, in a manner and by an expressly stated act of will”, read the complaint that Rui Rio sent to CJN, according to the newspaper “Observador”.
Os concerned, who voted against the end of biweekly debates with the Prime Minister when the orientation of the PSD bench was favorable, it was Margarida Balseiro Lopes, Alexandre Poço (recently elected leader of JSD), Pedro Rodrigues, Pedro Pinto, Álvaro Almeida, Rui Silva and Emídio Guerreiro.
Sanctions for non-compliance with the voting discipline imposed by the party leadership can range from a simple warning to the suspension of the rights to elect and be elected in party positions for two years.
Internal regulations can avoid 'punishment'
According to the internal rules of the PSD parliamentary group, “the sense of voting on bills or resolutions” in motions of rejection or trust, State budgets, constitutional review or referendum initiatives “is defined by the leadership, after hearing the parliamentary group ”. It so happens that, in this case, there was no formal meeting with the parliamentary group to discuss the vote at the end of fortnightly debates.
In the week of the plenary vote, several deputies asked Rui Rio to lift the voting discipline in this matter, taking into account that the matter had never been discussed in the bench. In response to this, the leadership of the PSD parliamentary group sent an email to all deputies to say that voting discipline was applied in reducing debates with the prime minister, although admitting there was "the right to disagree".
In that same email, the board acknowledged that “there was no formal meeting of the parliamentary group to debate this proposal to amend the bylaws” of the Assembly of the Republic, but that this “has always happened with the overwhelming majority of projects”.
The Disciplinary Regulation of the PSD determines that it is up to the competent Jurisdiction Council to decide on the opening of the disciplinary process. If the PSD's CJN understands that the party leadership had to meet with the parliamentary group before applying the voting discipline, as required by the statutes, deputies should be exonerated. The CJN has 90 days to make a decision, which can be extended by another 90 days.
The principle of voting discipline does not apply, according to the PSD bench regulations, “in the votes that concern votes, nor in those that concern matters of conscience, so considered by the direction or by the national political commission, despite the direction to express the vote of the bench ”.
In addition to the seven PSD deputies, 28 deputies from the Socialist Party - who did not impose voting discipline - voted against the end of biweekly debates with the prime minister and five others abstained.