António Costa opens a debate on the state of the nation with the economy, anticipating a confrontation with the opposition over health care

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The Prime Minister opens today’s parliamentary debate on the state of the nation with a speech focused on the country’s economic evolution and in which the Government intends to counter the opposition with new health policies.

For the debate on the state of the nation, the Government chose the Minister of Internal Affairs, José Luís Carneiro, to make the general policy speech at the closing and the holder of the Health portfolio, Manuel Pizarro, to make one of the background interventions during the more than three and a half hours of discussion.

This option for Manuel Pizarro reflects the Government’s intention to respond to the growing criticism of the opposition about the current situation of the sector, namely problems such as that of citizens without a family doctor and others, of an organic nature, such as the delays in the conclusion of the approval of the statutes of the executive board of the National Health Service.

On the part of António Costa, his speeches should highlight Portugal’s economic growth, responses to inflation and structural challenges facing the country, in a political environment that the PS government and consider institutional normality.

In the Government’s political core, it is assumed that throughout the first legislative session there were some “regrettable episodes” that damaged the image of the executive and that gave rise to several unexpected changes in the team led by António Costa. But it is also concluded that the focus of action in fulfilling the program has not changed and that the results of the economy are above expectations.

The opposition coincides in blaming the government for the country’s “impoverishment”, but while PSD, Chega and IL attack the tax burden, PCP and BE accuse the “absolute power” PS of pursuing right-wing policies.

PSD, Chega, Iniciativa Liberal (IL), PCP and Bloco criticize the state of health services, disruptions in the school year in public schools because of the conflict between the government and teachers, rising housing prices and low wages in an inflationary environment.

In addition to economic and social issues, the opposition points to instability in the government, with successive cases and resignations, lack of dialogue and an attempt by the absolute socialist majority to “whitewash” various situations, in particular facts that will have resulted from the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the management of TAP.

On the political level, however, the parties’ strategies diverge. Chega and IL consider that the Socialist executive should not continue in office, but the PSD, claiming political responsibility, rejects for now the scenario of early elections, which is also not claimed by the BE and PCP.

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