Tuesday, 25 July 2017
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OilReferendumSMALLASMAA today announced it is finalising a new campaign in the Algarve and Alentejo in the run up to the municipal elections to ensure that the subject of 'Oil and Gas Exploration' is placed on the election agenda as a focal point.

The local council elections are to take place on October 1st this year and ASMAA believes it is important to encourage informed voting by highlighting the position of each candidate and party on the development of an oil industry in Portugal which remains the policy of the government despite massive public opposition, especially from the southern regions.

ASMAA's leader, Laurinda Seabra says, "For the past 5 years, ASMAA has led the anti-oil campaign in the Algarve through a mass mobilisation that has spread through the whole country with other organisations and community groups 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 a steadfast resolve by government to proceed down this wrong path. This government's position once again was clearly reinforced by the 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. "It's 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 lobbying groups, it's 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 on deep-sea mining. Their positions will be registered on a 'pro' or 'anti' register on the ASMAA website which will show maps of constituency areas and existing and future the oil concession areas.

Laurinda Seabra stated, "Oil and gas exploration in Portugal has to be stopped, and the government has to be motivated to change its policies by 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."

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 these issues 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 is to include voter education workshops, posters and information flyers distributed in local communities across the Algarve and Alentejo, a massive social media campaign across various social networks and email updates.

"The bottom line is that we want to see an informed population cast their votes. After all, government decisions have a direct impact on them," said Seabra.

ASMAA is not affiliated with any political party or political campaigning group, nor does it normally get involved in the election trails, until now:

"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 characterise any election period," said Seabra, adding that "It is time for politicians to honour the social contract with the nation and with its voters - a contract which is embedded in the participative democratic process enshrined in our constitution."