Portugal, out of the wave ultra that affects Europe

The results in their polls are a product of their geographical location and their cautious electorate Portugal: all against the prime minister António Costa

Portugal, out of the wave ultra that affects Europe

The results in their polls are a product of their geographical location and their cautious electorate

Portugal: all against the prime minister António Costa

Timothy Snyder: "If we don't do anything, the extreme right will continue to grow"

Adolfo Mesquita Nunes, the number two of the CDS Portuguese: "We cannot cede to projects that mitigate the freedom"

In recent years, extreme-right parties have managed to enter the parliaments of many countries of Europe. One of the exceptions is Portugal. Its citizens boast of its imperial past to explain the lack of movement racist and xenophobic within their borders, noting that a people historically composed by navigators is inherently tolerant and open. Others claim that the absence of the extreme right is due to the fact that the lusos have not forgotten what we suffered during 40 years of dictatorship salazarista.

The Portuguese Constitution -a direct legacy of the Revolution of the Carnations of 1974 - sets out legal obstacles that hinder the creation of games ultra in the neighboring country. Article 13 vetoes discrimination by origin, religion, political conviction or sexual orientation-which complicates the inclusion of proposals mutually exclusive in the electoral programmes-and that article 46 explicitly prohibits the creation of formations of fascist ideology.

But beyond cultural factors, and legal, there are practical elements that have prevented the growth of formations of the extreme right in Portugal until now. One is its geographic location: isolated in the extreme west of the continent, the neighbouring country has not been affected by the crisis of the boats or of the syrian refugees.

"there is a perception that immigration is a problem here", explains Susana Salgado, professor of Political Communication at the University of Lisbon. "The extreme right has not been able to take advantage of the situation to foster the fear of an alleged invasion. The immigrants who have come mostly from former colonies of the old Portuguese Empire and have been integrated easily in our society."

The rise of the extreme right in Portugal has also been curtailed by an electorate luso extremely moderate. "The uniqueness of Portugal lies in the fact that our elections are decided by voters who are dependent on the State", explains Nuno Garoupa, professor of George Mason University and expert in political Portuguese. "The electorate consists of just five million people, of which two million are pensioners and one million are civil servants. Make up a voting bloc very cautious, they will not vote to a party which end you put your income at risk."

"None of the barriers to the extreme right outside are insurmountable," says Salgado. "The shy financial recovery has reduced social unrest, but when closing the economic cycle, today it could all change. Until now, the media has not given space to the few figures ultra that exist here, but if there is someone that catches the attention of the citizenry could give and take a lot of audiences. The society has changed and there are fewer people who remember the horrors of the dictatorship, and more who are willing to follow a charismatic figure with easy solutions to their problems."

Garoupa coincides with Salgado and points out that Portugal will have many of the structural problems that have facilitated the rise of the extreme right in other countries. "The political class has not known how to respond to the essential concerns of the citizenry, and if things get worse there is the possibility that citizenship is harte enough to break with the establishment, and to give his vote to a crazy. In the last few years a million of voters have opted for abstention due to lack of confidence in the traditional parties. If the extreme right manages to capture those voters -who represent 20% of the electorate luso-, we may have a problem".

"As in any other country, there are racist and xenophobic in Portugal, but until now to express these prejudices has been seen as something of very bad education, and no party has dared to do this, knowing full well that the electors, what would refuse. For that reason I do not think that the rise of a party like the Northern League or the National Front".

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Date Of Update: 07 December 2018, 08:01

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