Two weeks of campaigning are well
underway among the parties contesting Portugal’s early national election on
The centre-right Democratic Party (PSD)
is predicted to replace the centre-left Socialist Party (PS), both having
fought for dominance for decades.
The humiliated centre-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, Antonio
Costa, is now retiring and still claiming he was not involved in any
wrong-doing, 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 are expected to gain much ground. Nine
others – including those in Germany, Spain, and Portugal - are 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
humour. 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
on-going challenges facing the on-going 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 that is doing its very best in a truly dire
world. It will no doubt remain committed to proposing peace in Ukraine and