June 10: Petition calling for more elected representatives for emigrants collects hundreds of signatures

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Hundreds of people have already signed an e-petition, launched in April, which aims for “greater and fairer inclusion of Portuguese communities in national political life”, one of the petition’s promoters, community councillor Pedro Rupio, said today.

According to Pedro Rupio, Community Councillor in Belgium – who chaired the Regional Council of Portuguese Communities in Europe until last March – it is up to the Portuguese Parliament to legislate to increase the number of deputies elected by the two emigration constituencies, of which there are currently four: two for Europe and two representing voters living outside Europe.

Increasing the number of deputies elected by emigration constituencies is a symbolically relevant objective to achieve, bearing in mind that we will be celebrating half a century of democracy in 2024″, says Pedro Rupio, who adds: “With a hypothetical reform, based on the political system currently in force, we can see that there would be a limited overall impact with the election of eight deputies by emigration constituencies”.

In the analysis of the impact of increasing the number of deputies elected by emigration circles, based on the political system currently in force, Pedro Rupio recalls that “the idea of ‘increasing the number of deputies elected by emigration circles’ originated in the requests of the Council of Portuguese Communities (CCP) at its first ordinary meeting in 1981”.

“After 40 years, the Portuguese living abroad continue to elect the same number of deputies, which also led the Portuguese Communities to launch the petition on political rights, proposing in particular ‘the increase in the number of deputies representing Portuguese citizens abroad'”, he points out.

Under the current electoral system, and assuming a possible increase in the number of deputies for emigration constituencies, “the distribution of deputies across the national territory would be significantly different”.

“In the various simulations carried out, we note that the election of eight deputies by emigration would be a scenario that would have the least impact on national electoral districts”, he points out.

“In this case, there would be 222 deputies distributed in proportion to the number of voters in each of Portugal’s 20 electoral districts”, he adds.

Pedro Rupio believes that this distribution would have “no impact on the eight constituencies with the fewest elected representatives in the country. In other words, the least populated electoral districts would not lose any elected deputies”.

He also indicated that the number of deputies elected by emigrants would rise from the current four to eight, and that this distribution “would take greater account of the number of registered voters and the number of voters in the two diaspora constituencies (Europe: five / Outside Europe: four)”.

“With regard to the results of the various parties, the electoral impact would be superficial or even non-existent, as shown by a simulation concerning the 2019 legislative elections (results of exactly identical parties)”, he points out.

“As far as 2022 is concerned, the number of MPs elected by the various parties would also be similar, with the following exceptions: the Socialist Party would elect one or two more MPs depending on the scenario for the distribution of MPs by emigration circles; the Social Democratic Party would lose one mandate if there were four MPs elected by Europe and four by the circle outside Europe; Chega would lose one mandate in either scenario. For the other parties, there would be no difference”, he added.

With the main aim of increasing the participation of Portuguese citizens living abroad in electoral acts, the signatories put forward three demands in the petition: the introduction of online voting without precedence, the possibility for electoral acts to include online voting without precedence, postal voting and voting with precedence, and an increase in the number of deputies representing Portuguese citizens abroad.

The promoters of the petition believe that the measures they advocate will increase the electoral participation of Portuguese living outside Portugal.

The e-petition “So that everyone counts”, launched by the organizations “Nous sommes aussi Portugais” (TSP), “Groupe de réflexion et d’intervention – Diaspora portugaise en Allemagne” (GRI-DPA) and the “Synergies Diaspora” movement, has so far collected 336 signatures.

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