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Upcoming Portuguese Elections

by Torres Sat Sep 26th, 2009 at 09:32:32 AM EST

Someone had to do it, so here is my take on it.

Portugal is going to have elections next Sunday. Then, the incumbent "Partido Socialista" will try to keep its hold on Portuguese government. The last four years they reigned supreme, based on an absolute majority in parliament

The main political spectrum in Portugal is as follows, from right to left (all have seats in the parliament):

  • CDS (conservatives, democratic Christians, liberals, and some closet fascists),
  • PSD (a center right party with a wide range of inner currents, that can gather votes from CDS or PS depending on the prevailing faction of the day).
  • PS (center left party, that shifted right in a very blairite 3rd way "pragmatist" stance, that caused discomfort to many of the more traditional socialists within the party),
  • BE, (Left Block) a socialist party somewhat akin to Die Linke in  germany, born from the gathering of several small left wing parties.
  • PCP (the communist party) a old school communist party, with solid influence on unions. They run together with a nominal Green Party.
The main challenger is the PSD (Social Democratic Party).
Under the leadership o José Sócrates the PS took a very unashamed 3rd way stance, causing a big crisis on the PSD, because they could not claim to be different. In fact, the PS passed a labour law that was more right wing than one proposed by the former PSD-CDS government. In disarray, the PSD turned to Manuela Ferreira Leite, a 70 something former minister of finances and education. They bet on an image of austerity and no frills, contrasting with Socrates who is viewed by many as a construct, all image and no real political substance.

One week from Election Day, I think there is a general feeling that the PSD may be unable to pull it off, with the PS distancing to a technical lead on the polls (although well within the possibility of an upset, since there are still many undecided votes).

The general consensus is that none of the two parties will have enough votes to get an absolute majority, and this is where things get interesting.

Front-paged by afew / bumped - nanne

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Where were you on the 25th of April?

by Torres Wed Apr 25th, 2007 at 02:41:10 AM EST

This is a catch phrase coined first by a veteran Portuguese journalist famous for his self-serving interviews. It was caught by another famous Portuguese, this time a comedian, and entered the public jargon, used every time one wanted to jokingly question how engaged was the other at the time.

Well, I was 7 back then, and I remember clearly getting out around 9am and walking to school only to get there and finding it closed. I went back home, somewhat happy for not having school that day.

Elsewhere in Lisbon, a military coup led by a group of captains had started to overthrow the dictatorship that had ruled Portugal for the last 48 years.

We like more diaries about holidays and history of European countries, especially if they are so uplifting as the Carnation Revolution. Promoted & slightly edited by DoDo

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Energy, Portuguese Style.

by Torres Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 11:12:59 AM EST

During the last 2 weeks Energy has dominated politics in Portugal.
In line with EU policy, a liberalization of the energy market is in course and among other things, an Independent Tariff Regulator was established in order to, presumably, regulate tariffs.

Last week came the announcement that a raise of 15% on the price of electricity was due to home consumers, industry having its own tariffs also due to raise, but less. This raise was justified by the fact that 10 years ago during the previous Socialist Government lead by António Guterres, a dispatch was made to keep electricity raises no bigger than inflation. Apparently this caused in recent years a serious disconnect between consumer prices and production prices.
So, a raise of 15% was in order to correct the deficit over the next 6 years or so.

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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Portuguese politics at a glance**

by Torres Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 04:01:13 AM EST

Since now I feel like I owe ET a few diaries, I shall attempt here to lay out the current political spectrum of Portugal and how it relates to recent history and Portuguese society.

Disclaimer: Please bear in mind I'm little more than a concerned citizen, with no political affiliation, and no special insights or background on politics. So take it as the personal view it is, although based on the facts as I know them.

The current composition of the portuguese parliament comprises, from right to left:

CDS - This is the most right mainstream party. It includes two major sorts of right wing though: Hardcore neo-liberals and democratic Christians. It's a small party with 12 seats. It represents more or less 5-10% of the electorate.

PSD - This is one of the two major parties in Portuguese politics. It has several currents inside, from neo-liberal to social democrats as normally understood  here in ET.

PS - This is the socialist party, currently in absolute majority, and the government. In principle, social democrats, aligned with the social democratic parties in the EP, etc.

BE - This is the Left Block. This party originated from the merging of several small left wing parties and a citizens initiative from the early nineties that looked for a new left that would redefine itself to be more modern.

PCP - This is THE communist party. It's probably the last hardcore communist party in western Europe. The legacy of it's historical leader is still held to the letter, insider reformers were driven out. It holds 12 seats, but since it always runs with the Green party, that elects 2 seats but has no real base, in practice PCP is worth 14 seats.

From the front page - whataboutbob

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