PSD Vice-President Nuno Morais Sarmento on Wednesday called the party's election result "short," but said Rui Rio has "more baggage and technical expertise" to lead the party than Luis Montenegro. "Sometimes the internal PSD dispute seems like the cage of the crazy people," he lamented.
In an interview with RTP3's "Great Interview" program, Morais Sarmento was confronted with the announcement hours earlier that former PSD parliamentary leader Luis Montenegro will be a candidate for PSD leadership in the upcoming January directives.
"He was a good parliamentary leader, nothing against that. I don't like to judge negatively, but I recognize another background, another technical competence, another experience, even another ability to earn Rui Rio's trust than Luís Montenegro," he said.
The PSD vice-president also said he was unaware of the strategy proposed by Montenegro for the party, except in changing the PSD's position, which he strongly disagreed with.
For Morais Sarmento, it was the strategy of "refocusing the PSD as a social democratic party rather than a self-styled liberal" of the current leadership that allowed the party to avoid "the risk" that it considered ran, pointing to the results of 2017 municipalities in councils like Lisbon and Porto, just above 10%.
"Before these legislative elections, the PSD was at risk, that risk was overcome in these elections," he said, pointing out that 1.4 million Portuguese "trusted" the PSD.
"The alternative strategy was to work out on the left as we saw more done on CDS with significantly more negative results?"
Challenged to classify the PSD result in the legislatures – 27.9% against 36.6% of the PS -, Morais Sarmento replied "short", but considered that neither this vote nor the European vote are preventing Rui Rio from re-applying.
"It's his own decision," he said, but ensuring the current leader – who "surely made mistakes" – will continue to count on his support if he decides to run for PSD leadership again.
"I don't see anyone who has a more different profile than António Costa's politically round, semi-round negotiator profile," he said in an interview with RTP3.
Regarding the timing Rui Rio will announce his decision, the PSD deputy argued that it would be "irresponsible for an opposition party leader to have decisions or layoffs before there was Government", adding that the PSD "is not CDS ".
"Rui Rio will make his decision according to the usefulness that comes to the country in his stay or leaving," he said.
On the position transmitted to Lusa by former President Cavaco Silva, saddened by the party's results, Morais Sarmento declined to interpret, but said he agreed that the PSD needs unity.
"If we continue to find it funny on PSD to put personality above ideas, principles and the party itself, we will go the wrong way," he said, saying that the PSD will only find its way if it fails to "look like a crazy cage."
As for the future government, Morais Sarmento considered that "for the country the best solution is PS alone": "Any other combination is more expensive," he warned.