1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Maddie, the Candidate Gonçalo Amaral, the ambivalence of some political cowards and the – inevitable – feast of the British tabloids

by Paulo Sargento*

Today, I leave you a short post to highlight some issues relating to the controversy that silently has been insinuating itself concerning the candidacy of Dr Gonçalo Amaral, in the lists of PSD [Social Democratic Party], to the Presidency of the Municipality of Olhão.

As was to be expected, even within PSD itself the choice is not unanimous. But that is perfectly normal and healthy in a democracy. Pity the man who thinks he has nothing but friends and supporters.

Nevertheless, in these cases, there are always five political types:

a) those who genuinely support because they believe in the candidate’s qualities – (the Genuines);

b) those who support due to conjectures of various natures (for example, “Now he is very notorious and the Portuguese people think highly of him. And he has already lived in Olhão…”) – (the Opportunists);

c) those who don’t support because they state that the candidate doesn’t have the adequate profile (generally, these are those who wanted to be candidates, or who already had someone else in mind – inter-party lobby) – (the Resentful);

d) those who prefer to speak at a later moment in time and who think it’s too early to make considerations about the candidacies because the election is still far away – (the Stoppers);

e) those who state that the candidate, despite his great merit as a citizen, doesn’t have any political experience – (the Aristocrats).

I must say that those who cause me most irritation and indignation are the Stoppers and the Aristocrats. For all the others, the argumentation is understandable. But the cowardice of the Stoppers, who stay aside and prefer to wait to celebrate or criticise, depending on polls or the prevalent opinions, or the ignoble haughtiness of the Aristocrats, who surely were already born with experience or who believe that the participation in public life is a privilege for the few, is something that upsets me.

But to help fuel the party, the feast of the English tabloids has started already, as could be foreseen, anyway.

Yesterday, on the 11th of January, the ‘News of the World’ presented a very small, but incisive article with the following title: “Maddie Cop Vote”. This title was placed beneath a photograph of Dr Gonçalo Amaral where he is still wearing a moustache and with his necktie somewhat misaligned by the open collar of his shirt (as a matter of fact, this type of photograph is not systematically used by the British media per chance; Gonçalo Amaral has photographs that are more flattering to his image but are never used). The news refers that “the shamed cop is running for Mayor after being booted out of the force”. Further ahead, it is subtly recalled that “the Portuguese officer caused outrage when he made Kate and Gerry McCann suspects in their daughter’s disappearance” and finalises with the sentence: “Right wing Amaral is now standing for election in the town of Olhão”.

Despite the fact that I understand the meaning of ‘tabloid’, I must say that what I have just summarised is absolutely shameful, premeditated, with a Portuguese hand (certainly from a non tabloid media with pseudo-intellectual aspirations and from characters whose known behavioural bizarreness anticipates their true motives), and, even worse, will be the first and the most simple of a predictable and massive offensive against the person of Gonçalo Amaral, which will increment its tone and its frequency from the second half of January onwards, with a lift, or even a full impulse from the Joana case. I’m even convinced of this. God willing, I’m mistaken.

Let me finish by saying that, independently from the political colour (which, in this case, I don’t share), every citizen who, within the legal frame of the Portuguese Democracy, presents the conditions to exercise mandates of public posts and truly wishes to do so, should, in my opinion, exercise that Right in a Free and Conscious manner.

More! The arguments from the Aristocrats don’t work. A former PJ inspector (but also a University Professor, with a degree in Sociology and History, a writer, and many other things) like Francisco Moita Flores, despite his inexperience in political activities, but very experienced in other areas of civic and social intervention, has been carrying out his mandate as the Mayor of Santarém in an incommensurably superior manner, compared to other “lifelong experienced” mayors elsewhere. Why is it that Gonçalo Amaral, a former PJ inspector (but also with 3 years of attendance to an Engineering course, a degree in Law and many other things), with years of life in the region that he is running for, with a visible civic and social participation, despite his discrete appearance, why is it, we questioned, that Gonçalo Amaral couldn’t be a candidate? Why is his candidacy so uncomfortable for some?

At the time when Gonçalo Amaral was removed from the Maddie case, I presented him publicly with my solidarity, and challenged Dr Alípio Ribeiro to render his “obvious motives” for said decision public. I now reiterate my full solidarity with Gonçalo Amaral in this “nerve war” that I believe he will face.

Let’s remain attentive and from the second half of this cold month of January onwards we will see some men with two faces (and opinions) that were inspired by the Roman God who originated the name of the month: ‘Janus’.

source: Câmara de Comuns, 12.01.2009

* Dr Paulo Sargento is an expert in Forensic Psychology, a University Professor, an author and a blogger - and many other things


  1. Goncal Amaral is a good looking man, but in the pictures they portray him as a semi intoxicated Colombo.This is definately done on purpose as part of the fuck Goncal Amaral over campaign that is cooking on behalf of the McCanns.
    The death of Madeleine at the hands of her parents is disgusting
    the ensuing cover up a disgrace but to destroy a man who is only guilty of colecting facts surrounding that child is about as low as it gets. The McCanns are a pair of sociopaths, they are without guilt, remorse, shame or conscience.

  2. I wish Dr. Amaral would run for Mayor as an independant, running under the banner of PSD, or any other party will do him no favours, unfortunatelly all portuguese political parties stink.

  3. I wish that Mr Amaral could be UK Prime Minister instead of the Prime Muppet that we have.

    Somehow I dont think the Mcfreaks would agree and what the they say goes, doesn`t it?

  4. Paulo Sargento, I have enjoyed reading your excellent analysis of the circumstances surrounding Amaral's candidature to Mayor. One wonders what dirty tricks the McCann mafia may be up to to prevent Amaral's success.


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