Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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The Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) considers grave that five members of the national parliament raised their objection and did not make an intervention during the plenary session in Portuguese because they did not feel they were fluent enough in the official language.

Five members of the national parliament raised their objection and did not make an intervention during the plenary session in Portuguese because they did not feel they were fluent enough in the official language.

Executive Director of JSMP Luis Oliveira Sampaio said the rule of speaking Portuguese only during the plenary session on Tuesday whilst a good initiative, inhibits some Members of Parliament from making interventions.
"The parliament is the place for the debating of political, social and economy affairs of state so language should not be an obstacle to anyone being able to make an intervention," he said.
He added that the Portuguese language should not be compulsory for MPs during any of the plenary sessions, even though Portuguese is an official language in the constitution because the People chose their representatives to sit at parliament to represent them and raise their concerns.
JSMP recalled observing MPs in 2011 trying to discuss the Civil Law Code and that most MPs did not participate in in-depth discussions because they did not know how to speak Portuguese.
He urged the national parliament to create the necessary conditions to facilitate MPs who are not able to speak Portuguese so they may learn it.
Meanwhile, MP Cesar Valente acknowledged 5 MPs raised objections and did not make their interventions due to language inability.
He said the five of them understood Portuguese but had difficulties speaking, so they decided to not make interventions.
"We should speak correctly as the parliament is an institution of the state open to the public. They decided not to make their intervention,” he said.
On the other hand, national MP Antonio Serpa disagreed with some MPs who did not make interventions because they do not know how to speak Portuguese because the parliament provides Portuguese languages courses to MPs.
"I think it is not good enough of an argument because there are several Portuguese courses available, and the parliament also provides a Portuguese language course," he disagreed.
"They cannot be bother attending the course and the use language as an excuse to not make an intervention. That’s not good enough,” he said.
He urged moving forward that all MPs must learn and make efforts to speak Portuguese to ensure the implementation of regulations and laws as prescribed by the Constitution.

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