The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, today promulgated the parliamentary decree that strengthens the fight against the so-called “revolving doors” between political offices and private companies, although he pointed out “potential doubts” about its application.
This decree, which increases the period of disqualification from three to five years for those who fail to comply with the disqualification regime and penalizes the respective companies, was approved in a final global vote on January 11, with votes in favor from PS, Chega, BE, PAN and Livre, abstentions from PSD and PCP and votes against from the Liberal Initiative.
According to a note published on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic, the head of state decided to promulgate it, “despite the potential doubts regarding the foreseen application of impediments to entities, particularly private ones, that hire former political office holders in violation of this regime, but especially in view of the importance of reinforcing transparency and the impediments inherent in the exercise of political office and high public office”.
The regime for exercising public functions in force already prevented former political office holders of an executive nature from exercising, for a period of three years from the end of their term of office, “functions in private companies that carry out activities in the sector they are directly responsible for and which, during that term of office, have been subject to privatization operations, have benefited from financial incentives or incentive systems and tax benefits of a contractual nature, or in relation to which there has been direct intervention by the political office holder”.
The decree enacted today extends the application of this impediment, establishing that former political office holders may not exercise functions in these companies “on their own or through an entity in which they hold a stake”.
On the other hand, the disqualification from holding political office and high public office for those who fail to comply with this ban is increased from “a period of three years” to “three to five years”.
In a new rule, the law also penalizes “entities that hire former political office holders in violation of the provisions” of this regime, determining that “they will be prevented from benefiting from financial incentives or incentive systems and tax benefits of a contractual nature for a period of three to five years”.
The final text of this decree, which strengthens the sanctioning system for combating “revolving doors”, was the result of a legislative process in the Committee on Transparency and the Status of Members of Parliament, based on a PCP bill to which the PS introduced amendments.
The PCP wanted, among other changes, to increase the ban on former political office holders to five years and for companies that hired them in violation of the law to be obliged to return the support or funds they had received by direct or indirect decision of said office holder, proposals that did not succeed.