Portugal : veto on the housing bill - now what?
Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has vetoed a government bill aimed at combating the country’s housing crisis on the grounds that proposals put forward by the opposition have not been seriously discussed. The veto forces the Socialists, who govern with an absolute majority, to present the law to parliament for discussion again, but not to make any changes. The national press would like to see the bill reviewed.
De Sousa showing strength and prudence
Jornal de Noticias notes with approval that the president sees himself as a counterweight to the government:
“Marcelo’s political veto is important. In a scenario with an absolute majority for a single party, the most important counterweight to power is not the opposition but the President of the Republic. It is he who has the power to reprimand (with his vetoes), or impose the ultimate punishment (the dissolution of parliament). And we have already seen that Marcelo uses his instruments wisely and prudently. ... One can more or less agree with each of his interventions. But in a period marked by polarisation it is important to know that there are adults in the room.”
Time for a proper investment programme
Correio da Manhã calls on the government to respond by investing in the state-regulated housing market:
“The package actually contains some good measures, but it mainly serves as propaganda for a government that in its eight years in office has made the problem of housing shortages worse, without doing anything to address it. ... Booming tourism has driven up property prices and the hike in interest rates has made buying a home unaffordable for families on average salaries. The problem can only be solved through more construction and increased public supply. Both the government and the local authorities, which fill their coffers with property taxes, must do more. ... They must provide affordable housing.”