Socialist Worker

Portugal: Disillusion shapes election

Issue No. 2255

The Socialist Party in Portugal became the latest victim of the economic crisis when it was defeated in last Sunday’s general election. The right wing Social Democratic Party won 38.7 percent of the votes.

The Socialist Party, which had governed Portugal until March, won just 28.1 percent.

The Social Democrats are now set to form a government with the conservative Popular Party.

This paves the way for deeper austerity measures as part of a 78 billion euro European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout.

The Socialists pushed through an austerity plan in an attempt to reduce the country’s public spending deficit. This made matters worse—unemployment hit 12 percent and the economy worsened. Voters punished the Socialists for this last Sunday.

Unfortunately, the radical Left Bloc, which opposes the bailout, saw its vote drop from 9.85 percent to 5.2 percent, though it still has eight MPs. And the CDU, a Green and Communist alliance, saw its vote increase slightly, winning 16 MPs.

But the real story of the election is the disillusionment with official politics—over 40 percent of the electorate abstained from voting.

Francisco Louca, Left Bloc leader, said, “A new political era began when we asked for external aid with a loan that will encumber Portugal for many years to come.”

Louca said that the Bloc will continue the fight against austerity, but that “it has become a more difficult fight”.

Portugal’s workers, who held a powerful general strike last November, will need to use their power to resist new attacks.

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Tue 7 Jun 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2255
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