Article in Publico , 21st of May
More than 40 cases stopped awaiting lifting of parliamentary immunity
‘In terms of crimes, there are a number of cases which are dragging on, suspended, awaiting the lifting of parliamentary immunity or authorization to testify’, states the coordinator of the Public Prosecution office, Gonçalves Pereira in his report on the Funchal judiciary relating to the year 2010. Circa 40 are criminal cases.
In the parliamentary session held Wednesday, the same day President Jardim threatened to install criminal proceedings against Louçã, leader of the Bloco Esquerda Party, the PSD majority approved a motion, presented by Jardim himself, to not authorize Jardim to be constituted ‘arguido’ and be questioned by the Public Prosecution in a case of election violations, which had its origins in a complaint lodged by the New Democracy Party (PND). In the same session, the PSD authorized the lifting of Parliamentary Immunity of two Socialist MPs in cases brought against then by the regional Power.
The crime case brought by the PND against President Jardim considers that the latter participates in official inauguration ceremonies simultaneously as President of the Region and Party Leader, specifically when he appeals for votes for his own candidates and slates opposition candidates. The National Commission of Elections, an entity Jardim whose authority Jardim claims not to recognize and which he classifies as a ‘secret police’ of the Salazar dictatorship, has ignored similar complaints lodged by various parties.
One of these crime-cases, lodged by the PND regarding the 2007 elections, gave origin to the process identified as 1049/07.4 TAFUN. Two years after the occurrences, the Public Prosecutor’s office shelved the case, alleging that the court should only act in ‘extreme, unequivocal or flagrante’ cases, in other words, that the law was only violated when the office-holder favors his party or negatively affects another party in a gross way.
Notified that this process had been shelved, the PND leader lodged a hierarchical appeal only to be informed by the Public Prosecution that the alleged crimes had already prescribed at the time the case was shelved.