By Catarina Demony
LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s parliament has agreed to open a dedicated entrance to the benches for its only far-right lawmaker after rival politicians complained letting him through was too bothersome.
Andre Ventura, a former soccer commentator and leader of the populist Chega (Enough) party, earlier this month won the far-right’s first seat since Portugal’s dictatorship ended in 1974.
He was allocated the right-most spot in a row behind a wooden balustrade at the Sao Bento Palace legislature, requiring him to walk past members of the right-wing CDS-PP party.
However, they and other parties said that was inconvenient and would force them to get up for a political rival, which does not happen to others. “It’s not a political question, it’s a practical one,” said CDS-PP lawmaker Telmo Correia.
Eventually, parliamentary speaker Ferro Rodrigues agreed that an opening be made in the balustrade next to Ventura’s seat, meaning he would have his own private entrance, a spokesman for the legislature said on Friday.
Far from being happy, Ventura said that would be a “ridiculous” waste of resources.
“They will spend money just because CDS-PP legislators don’t want to get up. This is them wanting to humiliate Chega once again,” he fumed to newspaper Expresso.
The decision still has to be approved by the cultural heritage authority because the building, which dates from a 16th century monastery, is a protected site.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Andrew Cawthorne)