This Tuesday, the Municipal Assembly of Lisbon rejected the PS’s recommendation “for the urgent conclusion of inter-administrative urban hygiene contracts”, after the failure of the previous executive, a situation that led to an exchange of accusations of “political chicanery”.

A proposal of the municipal PS group, which was defeated with votes against by PSD, CDS-PP, PPM, MPT, Liberal Initiative, Chega, Aliança, PCP and PEV and votes in favor of PS, Livre, BE, PAN and two independents from Cidadãos por Lisboa ( elected by the PS/Livre coalition), intended to recommend to the Lisbon City Council that it verify the fulfillment of contracts previously entered into in urban hygiene area and “shortly carry out the necessary steps for the celebration of new inter-administrative contracts between the municipality of Lisbon and the 24 parishes of the city, with due articulation with the parish councils”.

In the presentation of the proposal, the socialist Miguel Coelho, who is president of the Parish Council of Santa Maria Maior, highlighted the importance of inter-administrative contracts, including due to the number of visitors in his territory, which is higher than the residents, respectively, an average of 250,000 people per day for around 9,700 residents, which has a “brutal” impact on urban hygiene.

Miguel Coelho referred that “in 2019, perhaps due to the emergencies that the pandemic caused, the Lisbon City Council failed to transfer these funds“complaining that these amounts have to be returned to parish councils that have already spent the money.

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The social democrat Luís Newton, who is president of the Estrela Parish Council, criticized the PS for demanding from the current executive, chaired by Carlos Moedas (PSD), the fulfillment of what the previous executive, led by socialist Fernando Medina, did not assure, considering that “the city has been abandoned” and highlighting the fact that we now see “many presidents of council who are very active, solidary in this matter”.

“Another one that was promised and was not carried out”, accused Luís Newton, questioning the former executive about where the money is that should have been transferred to the parish councils, a clarification given by the PS councilor João Paulo Saraiva, who took over the Ministry of Finance in the 2017-2021 term.

Before João Paulo Saraiva was given the floor, CDS-PP deputy Carlos Ardisson and president of the Parish Council of Parque das Nações complained of having “a hole worth 324,000 euros” due to the non-compliance with the contract by the chamber, considering it “an incongruity”, the PS is complaining about a situation that it left unresolved.

After the accusations against the former municipal executive, the socialist Miguel Coelho regretted Luís Newton’s intervention for having decided to make “some political chicanery on a matter that is serious for Lisbon”, stating that the city “has never been abandoned”, including the councils of parish did not fail to intervene.

In response, the Social Democrat told the Socialist: “political chicanery is what they came here to do […] the truth is that there was a default”.

In order to clarify the situation, PS councilor João Paulo Saraiva indicated that the delay in transferring funds to parish councils was due to extraordinary needs in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s clearly political chicanery to try to bake now, you’ve acknowledged that we made an exemplary briefcase pass, […] this matter is there, so it’s not worth playing with what is a briefcase in which you have all the information, you have the means, we leave 200 million euros in the bank accounts, so sorry but it is not acceptable that now it is said that the conditions have not been created to analyze the issue and decide on it, that is what is being asked for, nothing more is being asked”, declared the former councilor for Finance at the Lisbon Chamber.

On behalf of the current executive, the vice-president of the Lisbon Chamber, Filipe Anacoreta Correia, assured that “there is every availability and every interest to talk with the presidents of the board”, in order to resolve the situation “in the best way” .

Luís Newton challenged the PS to withdraw the proposal, but that did not happen: “if this is not a political chicanery, there is a very quick way to resolve this, withdraw the recommendation proposal and we all sit at the table with the new executive”.

PCP deputy Fábio Sousa, who is president of the Parish Council of Carnide, considered that the inter-administrative contracts “do not solve the challenges of urban hygiene” and are proof that the administrative reorganization and the transfer of competences to the parish councils was not able to address the issues of necessary and constant investments in this area.

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