Lagos, 14 May 2017: ASMAA announced today that they are finalizing a new campaign in the run up to the municipal elections in the Algarve and Alentejo to ensure that Oil and Gas Exploration are firmly placed on the election agenda as a focus point.
Municipal elections will take place on 1 October this year, and ASMAA believes it is important to encourage informed voting and to highlight the position of election candidates and the parties, in spite of the government continued stance to proceed with oil and gas exploration in Portugal, amidst massive public opposition in the region.
ASMAA once again calls for local and national government leaders to adopt an energy policy based on renewables and on improving energy efficiencies.
For 5 years, ASMAA has led the anti-oil campaign in the Algarve, resulting in mass mobilisation and a spread across Portugal continental, with other organisations and community groups effectively picking up the anti-oil exploration banner along the way.
During this time, we’ve seen drilling plans being postponed year on year, some contracts cancelled, but also a steadfast resolve by government to proceed on this wrong path as well. This government positioning was once again clearly reinforced by the latest parliamentary vote that took place on Thursday 11 May.
ASMAA believes that the upcoming municipal elections are the perfect platform to tell the government through the power of the vote that the people are serious when they say they do not want oil and gas exploration to take place in Portugal. Its time for the people to once again remind government that its has a social contract with the people and not with “big corporations or their lobbing groups”, its time for the voice of the people to be heard.
ASMAA will be inviting all election candidates in the Algarve and Alentejo to state their position on oil and gas exploration as well as deep-sea mining in Portugal. Their position will then be kept in a “pro and anti” register on ASMAA’s website. This information will be supported by maps of constituencies, indicating concession areas awarded or at risk of future awards to oil and gas companies.
Laurinda Seabra, from ASMAA went on to state:
“Oil and gas exploration in Portugal has to be stopped, and the government has to be motivated to change its policies at the polls. We will be urging people to find out more about the damage that oil and gas exploration will bring to their communities, to the local economy, to their health, to their long-term sustainability before they cast their votes on October 1st.
The municipal elections are an opportunity to drive home ASMAA’s anti-oil drilling message and to promote the alternative technologies needed to help meet Portugal’s legal obligations to stop climate change.
As a result, ASMAA and its partners will be joining the election trail. We want voters to make an “informed choice” on who is the best person to vote for in their constituency. We have to get the issue on the agenda and we are going to do all in our power to make October 1st the turning point in the fight against oil and gas drilling, which includes both conventional as well as unconventional drilling technologies, such as fracking.
The campaign in the run-up to the elections, will include voter education workshops, posters and information flyers distribution in local communities in all affected regions of the Algarve and Alentejo, massive social media campaigns across various social networks and email update broadcasts.
The bottom line is that we want to see an informed population when they cast their votes. After all, government decisions have a direct impact on them.
ASMAA is not affiliated with any political party or political campaigning group, nor do we tend to get involved in the election trails, but we are of the opinion that it is high time for voter’s voices to be really heard, for politicians to be held accountable, and for an honest and transparent election. We are tired of political lies, the political ambiguity and the empty promises that traditionally characterize any election period.
It is time for politicians to honor the social contract with the nation, with its voters, which is embedded in the participative democratic process enshrined in our constitution.