New Portugal gov’t, preparing for power, shuts out populists
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s incoming Socialist government is freezing out a right-wing populist party that surprisingly placed third in a recent general election.
Portugal witnessed a surge in support for populists in the Jan. 30 election of a new parliament, more than a decade after a similar development in other European Union countries.
The office of incoming prime minister António Costa said that before taking office later this month he would meet with all other political parties, as well as trade unions, employers, national charities and others, to discuss future policies.
But the statement late Monday made no mention of meeting with representatives of Chega (Enough), which snared 12 seats in the 230-seat parliament. That was up from just one seat in the previous election, in 2019.
The center-left Socialist party won in a landslide, collecting a majority of 117 seats, ahead of the center-right Social Democrats with 71.
Chega, which describes itself as nationalist and conservative, was founded just three years ago.
It says the U.N.-sponsored Global Compact for Migration is “suicidal” and claims that some retired police officers receive pensions of just 290 euros ($330) while some people earning a poverty allowance of a couple of hundred euros (dollars) a month own a Mercedes car.
The statement from the prime minister’s office gave no reason for excluding Chega. But the party was the target of fierce Socialist attacks during the election campaign.
Portugal adopted a fully democratic system of government only after a 1974 army coup toppled a right-wing dictatorship.
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