Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2009

Portugal: Voters turn to the left

"THIS IS a clear and extraordinary victory", was the first official comment from Partido Socialista (PS) Prime Minister, Josť Socrates, after the results of the Portuguese national elections on 27 September. However, the official triumphalism of Socrates hides what is actually more a defeat than a victory for the misnamed 'Socialist' Party.

Cedric Gerome, CWI

Despite the fact that the PS remains the first party in the assembly, the so-called "extraordinary" electoral result of the PS is actually the worst for this party in a general election since 1991, and followed a serious defeat for the party four months ago in the European elections.

Moreover, the PS, whose share of the vote dropped from 45% in 2005, to 36.6% this year, lost 25 seats and its previously held overall majority in parliament.

PS' policies during the last four years have been privatisations, the dismantling of workers' rights, increasing the age of retirement, erosion of social security, and savage attacks against public sector workers (such as the teachers who reacted with strikes and demonstrations of historic proportions), while readily granting big business billions in taxpayers' money.

However, the right-wing opposition party, the PSD (Partido Social Democrata), with a campaign concentrating on slashing public spending, enabled the PS to play on working people's fears of further cuts in services.

The abstention rate (40%) in these elections was the biggest since the 1974 revolution. This is symptomatic of the huge dissatisfaction felt by wide layers of people, not only with the policies applied by the last PS government, but also about the vicious neo-liberal policies defended in the electoral campaign by the PSD.

Increasing polarisation

But these elections are also without doubt a turning point as far as the left is concerned. Together, the vote of the parties to the left of the PS, the Left Bloc and the CDU - a coalition made up of the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) and the PEV (Portuguese Ecologist Party) - totalled about 18%.

This good result for the left, echoing that of the European elections, is an encouraging illustration of the fact that a growing layer of workers, young people and unemployed in Portugal are open to socialist ideas and are definitely looking for an anti-capitalist response to the looming crisis facing the country.

The Left Bloc (BE) is the party which gained the most in these elections, increasing its share of the vote to 9.9%, compared to 6.4% in 2005. The detailed figures show that 557,109 people decided to vote for the BE (nearly 200,000 more than four years ago).

The BE has now become the fourth political force in the country, standing at third in most of the biggest cities. This result saw the Left Bloc make a breakthrough in parliament, doubling its number of national deputies from eight to 16.

The CDU won 7.9% (+0.4%), 445,000 votes (+15,000) and 15 seats, one more than before. The results for the PCP were particularly strong in some of the most industrialised areas, reflecting its still strong base in traditional workers' areas. However, in the 1999 elections, the party got 487,000 votes. This shows that the party was not really able, in the course of the last ten years, to really enlarge its base of support.

Despite its old roots among the working class, the sectarian approach of the Communist Party's leadership has been a barrier to realising a real breakthrough amongst the new generations of young people and workers entering into action.

Socialist policies

The left parties cannot give any support to a government carrying out anti-working class policies. They must fight for the development of the day-to-day struggles of workers and youth, and link them to the realisation of a real and consistent socialist programme.

A joint appeal from the Left Bloc and the PCP moving in this direction could have a very favourable and profound impact in the present situation.

The period of crisis facing capitalism, and its effects on the lives of workers and their families, will renew the fighting spirit and the tradition of struggle of the Portuguese working class, and lead to increased support for a genuine socialist alternative.

Full election report, see CWI website eng/2009/10/0301.html

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 7 October 2009:

Needed a party for workers, not bosses

War and occupation

Afghanistan stop the war

Afghanistan - Bring the troops home now

Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs

University accommodation scandal: Students must defend rights

University freshers fairs: Students seek out socialism

Socialist Party news and analysis

Wirral anti-cuts victory: 'If you fight, you can win'

Young parents need support, not attacks

Fight for a living wage

Not to Darling's pay freeze

Fast news

Campaign forces health Trust to save Crowlin House

Workplace news and analysis

An autumn of discontent in South Yorkshire

Leeds council calls for talks with unions

Fighting against outsourcing, defending working conditions at British Telecom

NUT vice president: Elect Martin Powell-Davies

Cambridge post workers strike

North Wales shop stewards network

Socialist Party feature

Social care in crisis

International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: Lisbon Treaty vote is not an endorsement for hated government

Portugal: Voters turn to the left

Foreign aid - chaining the world to capitalism

Fish Tank directed by Andrea Arnold

I speak Fula by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba


Home   |   The Socialist 7 October 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleManchester Socialist Party: The political situation in Portugal

trianglePortugal: No to witch-hunts - fight the capitalists not socialists

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

triangleWhy I joined: I want a future for my generation


triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance


triangleUsdaw elections announced - fight for a left leadership, vote for Amy Murphy

triangleHong Kong: mass demonstration against repression

triangleVenezuela: Capitalist offensive sharpens after assembly elections


triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

Working class:

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg





Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"



Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice