Portuguese American Journal

Opinion | Portugal facing elections drama and humor – Len Port

Two weeks of campaigning are underway among the parties contesting Portugal’s early national election on March 10.

The center-right Democratic Party (PSD) is predicted to replace the center-left Socialist Party (PS), both having fought for dominance for decades.

The humiliated center-left PS will likely finish second, and the far right-Chega party is expected to advance more than ever and become third.

While the moderate PSD may not be on the verge of implementing any fundamental changes, the PS involvement will probably shrink because of the corruption scandal that forced it out of power in November last year and made way for this snap election. 

The long-serving Prime Minister, António Costa, is now retiring and still claiming he was not involved in any wrongdoing, but many voters seem fed up with the PS and have shifted to the right, if not the far right.

Portugal’s Chega party has similar populist views to those of the other far-right parties that have been doing well recently in a number of European countries.

In the European Parliamentary election in June, nine of the far-right populist groups –  including those in France, Italy, and the Netherlands  – expected to gain much ground. Nine others – including those in Germany, Spain, and Portugal – expected to do much better than ever before.

The PS corruption scandal that brought about the resignation of Prime Minister Costa caused much outrage, yet a little humor.

The giant Swedish company, IKEA, posted advertisements in Portugal joking about the scandal. It was posted on an IKEA advertisement in Portugal showing one of its bookshelves, thus referring to the allegation that Costa’s former chief of staff had hidden money in a bookcase. 

There is no joking, however, about the ongoing challenges facing the Portuguese government in 2024, including the health service, housing, and cost of living crises, among others.

Portugal remains a relatively small, peaceful, and innocuous country doing its best in a truly dire world. It will no doubt remain committed to proposing peace in Ukraine and the Middle East. But what if Donald Trump wins the national election in the United States in November? 

Len Port, born in Northern Ireland, worked as a news reporter and correspondent, mainly in Hong Kong and South Africa, before moving to Portugal many years ago.


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