Portugese CP leader collapses

John Metz redsolidarity at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 8 17:18:00 MDT 2002

Portuguese Communist leader collapses at rally as
party tensions grow
Mon Jul 8, 6:49 AM ET

LISBON, Portugal - The collapse of Communist leader
Carlos Carvalhas at a political rally placed his
hard-line party's future under renewed public scrutiny
as prominent officials within its ranks push for more
modern policies.

Carvalhas fainted after giving a speech at a women's
rally Sunday in northern Portugal. He quickly
recovered and did not undergo medical treatment.

Party officials said the 59-year-old leader had a
problem with his blood pressure but declined to
provide further details.

Carvalhas is facing a challenge from a growing
movement of dissenters who claim the party's policies
are outmoded. The extreme leftist policies have
contributed to the party's electoral decline, they

The Communist Party has 10 seats in the 230-seat
Parliament. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the
party gathered around 20 percent of the vote in
national elections but in recent ballots it has
slipped to below 9 percent.

The party leadership has announced disciplinary
hearings this week against the reformers, further
increasing tension.

The three reformers, longtime party members and
respected leftist politicians, held their own rally
Sunday in Lisbon which was attended by more than 200

One of the dissenters, Joao Amaral, accused Carvalhas
of staging "a campaign of lies" against them.

The party leadership has threatened to expel the three
men, accusing them of trying to dilute Communist
policies and undermine party unity.

The Communist Party is still strongly influenced by
its former leader Alvaro Cunhal, who maintained the
party's Stalinist policies beyond the introduction of

Cunhal stepped down in 1993 to make way Carvalhas, his
groomed successor, but through influential books and
newspaper articles has urged the Communist Party to
stay loyal to its traditional policies.


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