“A right-wing government in a left-wing parliament,” was the headline in one Portuguese newspaper following last Sunday’s Portuguese general election. The right wing coalition ha survived but its future is uncertain - only one minority government has lasted a full term in Portugal since the return to democracy in 1974.
But the biggest surprise for the mainstream media was the rise of Left Bloc. Its success has confirmed a growing backlash against austerity. Left Bloc MP Mariana Montagua says the party is committed to championing the interests of the Portuguese working class.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF JEREMY CORBYN'S RISE TO the leadership of the UK Labour Party, the European left registered another significant advance in last weekend's Portuguese elections.
The right wing coalition lost its absolute majority in parliament, while the anti-austerity Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc )recorded its best ever result. It doubled its vote and more than doubled its number of elected MPs. With 549 thousand votes (261 thousand more than in 2011) and 10.22% of the votes and 19 MPs, it is now a significant force in Portuguese politics.
“Left Bloc is strengthened with the responsibility to fulfil its electoral commitment to defending salaries, defending pensions, defending workers’ dignity and fighting austerity and poverty,” said Mariana Mortágua, a 29 year old deputy for the party in parliament and dubbed 'a rising star of the socialist left' by the Portuguese media.
Left Bloc was formed in 1999 with the merger of several left wing parties.