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Portuguese Elections Confirm European Swing to the Right

by Marko Florentino
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portugal, victory of chega party, portuguese socialist party lost election, rise of the right across eu, european parliament elections, anti-immigrant agenda, cost of living crisis, rise of non-systemic conservative parties, right wing populist parties in eu

portugal, victory of chega party, portuguese socialist party lost election, rise of the right across eu, european parliament elections, anti-immigrant agenda, cost of living crisis, rise of non-systemic conservative parties, right wing populist parties in eu

An alliance of Portuguese conservative parties have won a snap election, the latest example of the rising popularity of right-wing forces across the European Union.

The electoral victory of Portuguese conservatives is the latest sign of a rightward swing in European politics, a pundit argues.

Portuguese conservatives outperformed the incumbent Socialist Party, which subsequently conceded.

The center-right Democratic Alliance (AD) won around 76 seatsin the national parliament, while the Eurosceptic right-wing Chega (“Enough” in Portuguese) quadrupled its share from 12 to 48.

“Voters have lost trust in the [established] parties because they have understood that they only want to stay in power at any cost even at the cost of uniting with political opponents whose programs are very distant,” said Dr. Marco Marsili, research fellow at the Institute for Political Studies at the Catholic University of Portugal, associate fellow at the Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis.

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The former public official and election observer for the OSCE/ODIHR, told Sputnik that “voters see their vote in vain and express their disappointment by voting for anti-system parties.”

Sunday’s election ended eight years of Socialist Party rule in Portugal. Itwas unclear whether the AD would establish a coalition with the more hardline Chega. If so, the two would have a parliamentary majority with some 135 seats, 45 more than the 90 held by left-leaning parties.

Marsili sees Chega as a potential game changer which is “becoming the third political force in the country.”

The issues that dominated the campaign – rising immigration, the increase in the cost of living and corruption around the Socialist Party – aided the success of the conservatives, according to the researcher.

“This result was easily predictable, in a political landscape shaken by numerous corruption scandals,” Marsili said.

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Chega was founded just five years ago, but the political newcomer has managed to win the support of a large part Portuguese society its anti-immigration and Eurosceptic agenda.

Over the last few years Chega leader Andre Ventura has met with Italian League party leader Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen of the French National Rally and Spanish Vox party leader Santiago Abascal.

A resurgence of right-wing parties has been seen across Europe ahead of the European Parliament elections in June. Conservative parties are expected to gain more seats in the bloc’s parliament, but will still be far from a majority.
Populist politician Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party’s (PVV) won the Dutch general elections last November. In Germany, the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) commands greater support than any of the parties in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition. And Le Pen’s National Rally took the lead over its political rivals in opinion polls last year.

According to Marsili, attempts by the leftist and center-right establishment to coalition government power-sharing deals and maintain control in EU member states may only increase support for Chega and other populist forces.

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