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News2022 Portugal Elections: Do you know each party?

2022 Portugal Elections: Do you know each party?

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João Ruy Faustino
João Ruy Faustino
João Ruy is a Portuguese freelancer who writes about European political actuality for The European Times. He is also a contributor for Revista BANG! and a former writer for Central Comics and Bandas Desenhadas.

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All the political parties running for the Portuguese elections

Not familiar with the Portuguese political system? Here is the list of all the relevant parties that can play a significant role in this election…

“The big two”:

Partido Socialista – Socialist Party (PS) 

The biggest party in the Portuguese Parliament, with 108 deputies, and the party currently heading the Portuguese Government. Is a social-democratic to democratic socialist, center-left party, comparable to other members of the Party of the European Socialists (PES) like the German SPD or the Spanish PSOE.

PS is a big advocate for social programs and for more socially progressive stances like euthanasia and gay marriage. The party is not interested in reducing the size of the government, and has the task of defending the last 6 years of the Socialist government.

Its leader is the Prime-Minister António Costa, and its slogan is: “Together we go and we succeed”.

Partido Social-Democrata – Social Democrat Party (PPD/PSD)

The largest opposition party with 79 deputies is the center-right, liberal conservative, PSD. PSD serves as a counterweight to the Socialist Party, and is the Portuguese equivalent to the German CDU or the Spanish PP for example.

PSD is not as socially conservative as the other big center-right parties however, with many of the parties deputies voting for euthanasia, abortion and for many pro-LGBT laws. The party is not remotely as economically liberal as other similar center-right European parties.

The party’s main proposal’s are: tax cuts for companies and people, privatization of TAP (the Portuguese public air transport company), reform in the justice system, reduction of the deficit and a “moralization” of the social subsidies.

The leader of PSD is Rui Rio, a more centrist politician compared to previous leaders and the party’s campaign slogan is: “New horizons”.

“The former-members of Gerigonça”:

Bloco de Esquerda – Left Bloc (BE)

The current third political force in the Portuguese Parliament with 19 deputies is the determinedly left-wing BE, the Portuguese equivalent for Die Linke or Unidas Podemos. 

Although in theory BE is closer to PS than PCP, it has worked much less in legislations and budgets with the government compared to the communists. BE is a socially progressive, socialist party, that advocates for equality in all forms (class, gender, racial, sexual orientation). The party has a bigger share of votes in cities and among minorities.

Its spokesperson is Catarina Martins, and the party’s slogan for this election is: “Strong ideals, clear commitments”.

Coligação Democrática Unitária – Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU)

CDU is a coalition between Partido Comunista Português, Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), and the much smaller and relevant Partido Ecologista/“Os Verdes”, Ecologist Party/“The Greens” (PEV).

The communists propose a program of “re-industrialization” to stimulate the Portuguese stagnant economy and the expansion of labor rights like raising significantly the minimum wage.

The PCP has a lot of influence in rural and industrial areas, with lots of mayorship’s in the south regions of Setúbal and Beja for example.

PCP is also the party more associated with labor unions, but its overall influence has been waning over the years.

The secretary-general of the PCP, Jerónimo de Sousa, had to be operated on to the left internal carotid so he was out of the campaign for the last days. This may be an excuse to accelerate the renovation of the party, Jerónimo de Sousa has been leader of the party since 2004, and is being more and more considered a “worn out” leader. Keep in mind that in 100 years of history the PCP has only had 6 secretary-generals.

“The “new” parties”:


As in many European countries, Portugal has, since the last election, a populist party in parliament. CHEGA! considers itself as an anti-system, anti-immigration and nationalist political movement.

The main party’s proposals are: reformation of the political system, reducing the number of deputies in the parliament and switching to a presidential system for example; reform of the prison system, by expanding sentences for crimes of corruption, legalizing chemical castration of pedophiles, life and death sentence, etc.; and overall liberalization of the economy, by selling public companies and reducing taxes for companies and people.

Its leader and founder is André Ventura, a former member of PSD. “For Portugal, for the Portuguese” is the party’s slogan in this election.

Iniciativa Liberal – Liberal Initiative (IL)

The other relative novelty in this election is the first mainstream liberal party in Portuguese recent history. The party is gathering a lot of support in big cities like Porto and Lisbon and among small businessmen.

The party advocates for a drastic reduction in the size of the Portuguese government, and for socially progressive policies like the legalization of prostitution for example.

The leader of the liberals is João Cotrim Figueiredo, the only deputy the party has managed to elect until now.

“Fighting for survival”:

CDS – Partido Popular – CDS – People’s Party (CDS-PP)

Until 2019 CDS-PP was the most right-wing party in the parliament, however with the entry of Chega! and Iniciativa Liberal, and many internal divisions, the party seems to have lost its meaning…

The party is running in christian-democracy/conservative base, advocating for the end of “gender ideology” in schools, anti-euthanasia and tax cuts for companies and people. 

The party had a disastrous showing in the 2019 election and is now fighting for parliamentary representation.

The leader of CDS-PP is Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos, more known as “Chicão”. He is the former youth wing leader. The slogan for the election is: “For the same reasons as always”.

Livre – Free (L)

The self-described eco-socialist party, and scission of Bloco de Esquerda managed to finally elect a deputy in 2019. However it lost parliamentary representation among disagreements with the deputy that was elected. It is expected however to win at least 1 seat in parliament again, due to a strong showing in the debates mostly.

The party proposes a renovation of the education system, a “Green New Deal”, lowering the voting age to 16 and the experimentation of the Universal Basic Income.

Livre doesn’t have the post of leader, but the founder and number 1 in the Lisbon electoral circle Rui Tavares is serving as a kind of spokesperson for the party.

The pro-animals party”:

Pessoas Animais Natureza – People Animals Nature (PAN)

The main ecologist party in Portugal is PAN, the party that is the “defender of the animals”.

The proposals of PAN in 2022 are: public veterinary health service, more funding to public kennels and more legislation for the protection of animal rights and environment for example.

The party’s spokesperson is Inês Sousa Real, and the campaign slogan: “Act now!”

For more information on the 2022 Portuguese Elections read: https://europeantimes.news/2022/01/portuguese-elections-what-to-know-before-election-day/

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