Portugal’s general election in September changed the political landscape. It saw a decline in the vote for the ruling Socialist Party and was a big success for the radical Left Bloc,
The Socialist Party, which is similar to the Labour Party, won 45 percent of the votes in the last election in 2005. While it won the election it lost more than half a million votes, winning 36.5 percent of the poll.
This is its lowest vote since 1991. This is down to the anger at its neoliberal policies, which saw it bail out bankers and make it easier to dismiss workers in a country where almost 600,000 people are unemployed.
The Left Bloc made the most progress in the elections, winning 557,109 votes to become the fourth most popular party in Portugal. We have overtaken the Communist Party.
Our share of the vote increased from 6.38 percent to 9.85 percent, and there are now 16 Left Bloc MPs.
This is the result of an intense campaign, permanent contacts with the workers and other groups, and a clear anti-capitalist programme.
The Left Bloc and the Communist Party combined now have 31 MPs. The left outside the Socialist party have never obtained such a success before.
As it is now in a minority in parliament, the Socialist Party will be forced to choose between an alliance with the left or the right wing parties.
If it opts for the left, we will submit proposals from the Left Bloc, for example the repeal of the Labor Act and to impose a tax on the wealthy to finance improved social security.
Politics is more polarised in Portugal after these elections—but the Left Bloc is stronger than ever.