[Marxism] Portugal: Boost for left representation as Left Bloc doubles its representation | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

glparramatta glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Tue Sep 29 02:52:22 MDT 2009


By the *Left Bloc*, Portugal

/International Viewpoint/ — Portugal’s parliamentary elections, held on 
September 27, 2009, have changed the political landscape. The Socialist 
Party (SP), which had an absolute majority in 2005 with 45% of vote, 
lost more than half a million votes and fell to 36.56%.

Even as the winner, it is in a minority in parliament, the only 
political force which lost seats in relation to 2005 (96 down from 121). 
The result for the SP is its lowest since 1991. This is undoubtedly the 
result of the anti-social policies of an arrogant absolute majority who 
chose to save the bankers from bankruptcy instead of establishing public 
policies for the banks; who passed an employment law which makes 
dismissals easier in a country that has nearly 600,000 unemployed, with 
half of them not receiving unemployment benefits and makes job 
insecurity the rule. A government which has waged war on teachers and 
civil servants like none before.

The liberal-centrist Social Democratic Party (PSD), while gaining three 
parliamentarians in relation to 2005, has however recorded one of its 
worst-ever scores. The beneficiary has been the right-wing People's 
Party (PP), which has become the third political force (whereas in 2005 
it was in fourth place). The Communist Party has gone from third to 
fifth political force in terms of support.

The Left Bloc is the force that has had the biggest increase compared to 
2005. More than half a million votes (557,109 in a country of just over 
9 million voters), 192,679 more than in 2005, and from fifth to fourth 
biggest political force (third in a number of major cities). At the 
national level, The Left Bloc's score went from 6.38% to 9.85%, and the 
number of its MPs has doubled from eight to 16. In addition, while in 
2005 Left Bloc deputies elected came from Lisbon (four), Porto (two) and 
Setubal (two), this time it had elected deputies from nine of the 20 
districts: one each in Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra, Leiria, Santarem and 
Faro; one more in Porto and in Lisbon. In all, six women and 10 men.

The Left Bloc will now weigh even more in Portuguese political life and 
in the coming struggles, in parliament with its 16 deputies but also and 
especially in struggles, since we enjoy the confidence of more than half 
a million votes, the result of an intense campaign of continuous contact 
with workers and popular sectors and a clear anti-capitalist program 
with concrete alternative proposals to those of the Socialist Party and 
the PSD.

The three objectives the Left Bloc set for this campaign were all met:

1) to prevent a new absolute majority;

2) to increase the number of votes in relation to 2005;

3) to increase the number of MPs.

In parliament, the Left Bloc and the Communist Party have together 31 
deputies, representing more than 18% of the votes. Never has there been 
such a result to the left of the Socialist Party.

The Socialist Party, in a minority in parliament, will be forced to 
choose between the proposals of the left, as we will present them 
arising out of our program and our mandate — among others, repeal of the 
employment law, a tax on large fortunes to finance social security — or 
join the PP on the reactionary right.

After these elections, the political framework is more polarised, right 
and left. The political and social struggle will intensify in future 
months. And the Left Bloc is stronger than ever.

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