“I know [a escolha do líder e candidato a primeiro-ministro] it doesn’t mobilize the militants, how is it going to mobilize the country?” The doubt expressed by a former social-democratic leader finds support in the numbers: the direct elections on November 27 “are the second, out of ten direct elections, with fewer militants available for go to the Social Democratic polls; worse only when [Luís] Montenegro faced Rio”. In these elections, in January 2020, there were 40,628 militants with regular paid quotas, now there are 46,026. [46 430] only on the direct lines of 2014, but at that time Pedro Passos Coelho had no opponents.

In the remaining elections, the value was always above 50 thousand and only twice surpassed the threshold of 77 thousand: in 2008, in the clash between Manuela Ferreira Leite, Pedro Passos Coelho, Pedro Santana Lopes and Patinha Antão; and in 2010, in the dispute between Castanheira Barros, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Paulo Rangel and Pedro Passos Coelho.

When Paulo Rangel went to the national council, on October 14, to announce the decision to run for the presidency of the party [no dia seguinte fez a apresentação oficial] only about 17,500 militants had their quotas up to date. At that time, the date of the PSD elections was still December 4, the State Budget was still being negotiated and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had announced the day before, on October 13, for the first time, that a lead from the 2022 OE would have immediate consequences: dissolution of parliament and elections in January.

In 34 days, from October 14th to November 17th, more than 28,500 militants paid the quotas that allow them to choose the leader, but almost 39,000 of the approximately 85,000 active [os que pagaram pelo menos uma quota nos últimos dois anos] they were left out for not having settled accounts with the party.

“It’s a low number [de militantes que podem votar], and truth. But it would be bigger, there would be more PSD militants, if [a candidatura de Rangel] accepted Rio’s proposal so that all active activists could, exceptionally, vote. Because the election of the government, the prime minister is at stake. And it would even legitimize the elected leader more,” says a source in the social-democratic leadership.

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