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Upcoming Portuguese Elections

by Torres Sat Sep 26th, 2009 at 09:32:32 AM EST

Someone had to do it, so here is my take on it.

Portugal is going to have elections next Sunday. Then, the incumbent "Partido Socialista" will try to keep its hold on Portuguese government. The last four years they reigned supreme, based on an absolute majority in parliament

The main political spectrum in Portugal is as follows, from right to left (all have seats in the parliament):

  • CDS (conservatives, democratic Christians, liberals, and some closet fascists),
  • PSD (a center right party with a wide range of inner currents, that can gather votes from CDS or PS depending on the prevailing faction of the day).
  • PS (center left party, that shifted right in a very blairite 3rd way "pragmatist" stance, that caused discomfort to many of the more traditional socialists within the party),
  • BE, (Left Block) a socialist party somewhat akin to Die Linke in  germany, born from the gathering of several small left wing parties.
  • PCP (the communist party) a old school communist party, with solid influence on unions. They run together with a nominal Green Party.
The main challenger is the PSD (Social Democratic Party).
Under the leadership o José Sócrates the PS took a very unashamed 3rd way stance, causing a big crisis on the PSD, because they could not claim to be different. In fact, the PS passed a labour law that was more right wing than one proposed by the former PSD-CDS government. In disarray, the PSD turned to Manuela Ferreira Leite, a 70 something former minister of finances and education. They bet on an image of austerity and no frills, contrasting with Socrates who is viewed by many as a construct, all image and no real political substance.

One week from Election Day, I think there is a general feeling that the PSD may be unable to pull it off, with the PS distancing to a technical lead on the polls (although well within the possibility of an upset, since there are still many undecided votes).

The general consensus is that none of the two parties will have enough votes to get an absolute majority, and this is where things get interesting.

Front-paged by afew / bumped - nanne


Many things can happen in this scenario.

Portuguese parties are not used to rule in true democracy, and so they only feel comfortable when an absolute majority is guaranteed. In order to achieve this in the absence of a landslide victory, they have to gather consensus with other parties, either by forming a joint government or by some sort of parliamentary agreement (a much more fragile solution).

The PSD has no trouble at all getting in bed with the CDS, they have done it before, and will do it when ever it suits them. The same thing does not happen on the left.
The PS under the leadership of Socrates distanced itself from the left, making it very hard if not impossible to have compromises from the likes of BE and PCP.
They have stated that with Socrates an alliance is impossible. There are elements on the PS, namely on their historical leaders side, that would favor such an alliance, having themselves been critical os Socrates in the past. But now with elections coming closer, they are closing ranks and try to sell the left the idea that somehow the international crises changed Socrates heart (yeah, right).

There is another solution for stable government. In the scenario where neither the PS or PSD with their natural or unnatural allies can make a stable government, the two parties might find a way to get together and do it themselves. This might be possible if the defeated leader resigned, and someone capable of dialogue with the other side took his/her place.
This is probably more likely in case of a PSD victory, since a defeat from Socrates would probably embolden the left wing of the Socialist Party into taking over and preferring to prepare a longer term strategy for the left. This may be wishful thinking of mine, too.

I gave you no percentages of the parties involved, so far.  The latest polls go like this:

PS -- 38%
PSD -- 32%
BE -- 12%
CDU [PCP+PEV] -- 7%
CDS-PP -- 7%

The media now seems to target the BE as the "big danger" of "radical left" taking over. The (slight) advantage of the PS may mean there will be less "useful" votes going to the PS from left wing voters, determined to keep the PSD and CDS off the government. Also may mean a desperate attempt from CDS voters to give the victory to PSD, emptying their parliamentary presence. Undecided votes are still plenty, it is believed.

New polls should be available by the end of the week, and I'll try to update accordingly. BTW, most polls were famously wrong during last European elections so this may all turn out to be something completely different.

Display:
Thanks, Torres.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 09:42:08 AM EST
Thanks for this. Was hoping to see an in-depth study of the upcoming election.

When we were in Portugal in June the TGV line to Madrid had become a political football, with PS announcing it was delaying the final decision until after the election in order to use it as a cudgel against PSD, which is apparently opposing the project. Has this had any impact on the election?

Judging by the enmity between PS leadership and the left, including the BE, it seems like a replay of Ypsilanti/Hesse where a center-left party refused to coalition with the left to form a government. Would there be any effort by PS to govern as a minority? Would there be enough pushback from within the PS ranks to demand a coalition with BE and/or CDU? Or would there be a replay of the 2005 German federal election and a grand coalition formed between PS and PSD? (Which strikes me as rather unlikely, but I suppose you never know, especially if PS is adamant about not coalitioning with the left.)

Where in Portugal are the various parties strongest? I know the Alentejo has traditionally been a CDU/PCP stronghold, but am less familiar with the rest of Portugal's partisan preferences.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 01:56:54 PM EST
The TGV issue re-emerged during the campaign. PS is using the TGV, a new airport for Lisbon and a few road projects as their version of Keynesian policies. The PSD claims such projects are mostly irresponsible at this point because of the impact on public deficit.
(The PSD was a promoter of both the airport and the TGV in the past, so this may have more to do with this particular leader).

A coalition to the left is unlikely, only a defeat of Socrates would allow the left side of the PS to push for that, and in case of a defeat it is the PSD that is called by the president into forming a government.

An unlikely coalition that already happened once, is between PS and CDS. Not impossible at this point, as there is probable less personal antipathy between the two leaders, than between Socrates and Ferreira Leite. It would look very awkward and most likely would be short lived, as it would erode the PS from the left even further, i believe. A grand "center" coalition can only happen is the looser of the two resigns, in my view.

Alentejo is indeed where the CDU/PCP are stronger, but they also have a strong presence in the south part of Lisbon metropolitan area, (where most of the heavy industries used to be) where the population probably exceeds the all Alentejo combined.

Generaly speaking you get a more conservative country as you go North. The BE has been considered a urban party that gave hints of breaking that mould during the European elections.

The PS and PSD share basically the same demographics and here i think religion may be the big differentiator as the PS was from the get go a secular and republican (in the french sense, if there is one) party (although they did have a very catholic prime minister in Antonio Guterres during the 90's).

by Torres on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what keeps BE and CDU/PCP apart? Have there been any efforts to build stronger links there, or are there fundamentally different political views and methods at work that make a more collaborative relationship impossible?

Thanks for all this insight. So glad you wrote this diary.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess it is the same as with the Greens/Left Party in Germany, or Syriza/KKE in Greece.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm by no means an expert in left wing but one quick answer might be the trotskist roots of most of BE vs the Leninist roots of PCP. In today's politics, BE are closer to what a truly social democrat party might look like. PCP's critics of the BE basically claim they've drifted from true socialism. I'm afraid i can't give you a more sophisticated insight.
by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:49:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BE is an agglomeration of trotskyists (former PSR), more trotskyists (Ruptura-FER), stalinists/maoists (former UDP), left-social-democrats (former Politica XXI), even anarchists (Rui Tavares, MEP) and independents.

While their discourse sounds social-democrat (especially in a country where the local social-democratic party - PS - is and always was too much to the right, leaving that space open), I would contend that the inner core is mainly composed of closet trotskyists-stalinists.

The former political parties still exist in the form of associations and they still have the typical hard-left connections (e.g., Fourth international). The people pulling the strings are mainly from PSR and UDP.

Regarding the Communist Party: They are still extremely  old fashioned communists. With ties to China, North Korea, Cuba. And clearly fond of stalinist USSR.

I am voting PS (PES). It is the least-worse choice from my point of view (which is unashamedly social-democratic/socialist-libertarian).

by t-------------- on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And i'm voting for BE mainly because i think PS needs to be challenged from the left.
by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:06:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding BE, I have 2 things to say:

  1. If I believed that they meant what they said I would maybe vote for them. They sound reformist/social-democrat, but they are closet-commies.

  2. Before I say point 2, let me start with a quote:
"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." - Bertrand Russell.
The idea above, summarizes in my opinion, the essence of liberalism.
BE are, at their core, a totalitarian organization. They believe they own the truth (just look at the priesty, self-rigtheous and too-serious style of their leader - FLouca).
They will never be a reliable coalition party because they will never accept the idea that they have to make concessions and negotiate. And being a junior coalition party would mean to make a lot of concessions.

See what happened in the Lisbon government: Even with a left-labour mayor they broke the coalition because of a few minor reasons (though I would agree with them on the issues, that is besides the point: if you are in a coalition you have to swallow a few frogs and even a few elephants).

I think Socrates is a blairite-type of politician, but I don't see an alternative for now.

I would love BE or PCP being in the govt, but they have to change their totalitarian ways.

I am going to do 8.000 Km just to vote (I am still in lovely Missoula, Montana, USA), as I think this will be the most important elections of my lifetime (the crisis is here to stay a few more years, and I don't want a conservative govt in place during crisis times).

Also, their bet on renewables (I love the wind mills all over the country) is worth supporting.

by t-------------- on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." - Bertrand Russell

Well, that and "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

On some issues leftists do have a monopoly on the truth - not because we are priests, but because the right has made denial of reality a major plank of its policy.

See, e.g., global warming, peak oil and the relative health of the German and British economies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say that some facts are difficult to understand and open to interpretation.

Take for instance, peak oil (in which I truly believe): We really don't know what is really left in Saudi Arabia (it is still a state secret?).

And it is still to be proven that Homo sapiens has enough cognitive ability to really understand complex reality. I would not classify any of your selected subjects as "facts" in that sense. For me they are open to discussion.

I can find countless scientific predictions in the literature ("facts") that turned out wrong.

One would even say that accepting fact coming from science then neocon economics is a fact (as it is what can be published in respected scientific journals - still).

So, I don't label peak oil deniers as "out of the truth". I disagree with their interpretation of reality (complex, incomplete data, difficult to understand).

Malthus was a "fact", until technology came.

by t-------------- on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taking them one by one, global warming is a matter of empirical reality. The data is in. The discussion is now one of magnitude, and here the forecasts have been consistently over-optimistic. This as well is a simple matter of experimental record.

Peak oil, again, is a matter of experimental reality. The data is in, the peak is now in the past. If you play games with the definition of oil (to include tar sands and asphalt), you can push the peak to 2010. But we have sufficiently solid data already to say that it will be 2010, give or take a year or two.

The last item is less straightforward, as it turns on one's definition of economic "strength." Here there is room for disagreement. But only to the extent that the dissenter wishes to argue that structural current account deficits combined with structural import dependencies is a sign of economic strength (or at least irrelevant to the question of economic strength). Because the underlying trade flows are a matter of straightforward empirical reality.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:19:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say that some facts are difficult to understand and open to interpretation.

Facts which contradict one's worldview are invisible, or misappraised or ignored. I think one can call that a fact from cognitive science.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On some issues leftists do have a monopoly on the truth - not because we are priests, but because the right has made denial of reality a major plank of its policy.

And yet, in the face of the intellectual collapse of neoclassical economics and the biggest economic crisis of our lifetimes, the mainstream left is getting its ass kicked electorally.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:57:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What mainstream left?

When was the last time you had a card-carrying union member heading a major social democratic party? When was the last time you heard a nominally social democratic party tell people, in so many words, that confiscatory taxation of millionaires is not only just and necessary but economically efficient as well? When was the last time you heard a nominally social democratic party unashamedly advocating a better provision of public goods for the sake of better provision of public goods? When was the last time you heard a nominally social democratic party unashamedly advocating the interests of tenants above landlords and "owner"-occupiers?

All I see in the "mainstream" so-called "left" is centre-right schmucks chasing the false consciousness of the pwnership society.

But that'll change when the real unemployment rate hits the high 20s, and cascading margin calls start booting over-leveraged home"owners" out of "their" houses.

The open question is whether it will change fast enough to present a viable alternative to violent nativism and similar forms of aggressive obscurantism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 04:25:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When was the last time you heard a nominally social democratic party tell people, in so many words, that confiscatory taxation of millionaires is not only just and necessary but economically efficient as well?

Indeed. Then again, to my surprise, the ruling Slovenian version came up with this:

XE.com - Slovenia slaps big wages tax on firms on state aid

LJUBLJANA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Slovenia's Parliament on Wednesday voted to raise the tax rate on top wages to 90 percent in firms that receive state aid or state guarantees, imposing one of the highest tax rates in the world.

The new 90 percent maximum tax rate imposed by the euro zone member on net wages is up from 41 percent at present and will expire at the end of 2010 or after state aid to a company expires.

It will apply to managers' wages that exceed 12,500 euros ($18,470) per month and to bonuses that exceed 25,000 euros per year. The new rate gained support by all parliamentary groups and was imposed by a vast majority of votes.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 04:57:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am going to do 8.000 Km just to vote (I am still in lovely Missoula, Montana, USA), as I think this will be the most important elections of my lifetime (the crisis is here to stay a few more years, and I don't want a conservative govt in place during crisis times).

Can't you register to vote at the embassy/consulate or by mail?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:47:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the latest polls you could have saved your money: PS appears to have a solid 8 points lead over PSD.
by Torres on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are the main campaign themes of BE and PCP?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 02:17:56 PM EST
BE and PCP are focusing mostly on the economy.

The BE claims that those big works like the TGV and the Airport may be important, but they wont solve the immediate employment crises (Portugal currently counts 500.000 unemployed, and is projected to get 200.000 more during the next 6 months (population 10 million). So they propose a plan for urban intervention, fixing old buildings and decaying historical city centers as this would provide more dissemination of the investment and would produce quicker results (besides not feeding directly the usual big names in the construction industry and banking, that will likely be in charge of financing and building the heavy duty stuff).

BE also calls for a re-nationalization of GALP (the former national Oil company), and EDP (electricity), as tools to provide more competitive energy to fuel the small and median companies that represent a huge part of our employment base. I believe on average energy costs are almost 25% higher in Portugal than in neighbour Spain.

The PCP makes less concrete proposals (although im sure they support several of those above) and it's campaigning more on themes of social justice, denouncing the big and dishonest bankers (of which we had some cases that appear to go beyond the normal reckless investment, and into fraud territory).

by Torres on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was frankly surprised at the level of decaying old buildings in the historical city center of Porto. I took this photo from the Ponte Dom Luis:

There was quite a lot of this in the city center, including near São Bento. So BE's call for employment through urban rehabilitation projects seems like a pretty damn good idea to me. How is that playing with the electorate, particularly the unemployed? Or is PS getting more traction with its higher profile projects?

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it is very hard to tell at all what the people think, if anything at all of the actual measures proposed by the parties.
Like in any modern country the noise caused by small scandals, personality clashes, "who gets to join who" and such, tends to dominate the media.
Also the BE, presenting itself as a credible and growing force on the left, is fueling the "red danger" rhetoric on the right, raising the ghost of our somewhat convoluted post revolution process.
by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When in Portugal I am either in Lisbon or Porto. I know both cities very well.

Porto is quite poor (compared to Lisbon). Unemployment is higher and dependence on welfare (Rendimento Minimo Garantido), is top for the country.

It is also a fairly conservative city, where the fact that you look authoritarian and macho gets you cookie points. The current mayor, a neo-conservative, extremely authoritarian type is quite popular. He sells himself as a penny-pincher above all. The results of his "competence" are easy to see and photograph as you did.
He will win the next local elections (in two weeks) easily. The Labour party is running a woman against him; this - I am sad to say - in a metropolitan area where there has been only one woman being elected as a mayor since democracy (Lisbon metropolitan area routinely elects several women since democracy - though never in Lisbon itself)

by t-------------- on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 01:15:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BE has a point about local investment, though I of course would spend on both (and if they don't want the banks to benefit, let do finance differently). I would also endorse the re-nationalisations, but I wonder how (if at all) committed they are to move away from the fossil fuel economy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The BE doesn't reject the trains and even the airport (not sure about this one) they only question it's efficiency as anti-crisis measure, as it wont be in place in less than 3 years.
by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:53:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would also endorse the re-nationalisations, but I wonder how (if at all) committed they are to move away from the fossil fuel economy.

you'd think that with that atlantic seaboard they have scads of wind...


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 02:21:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are the main sources of electricity in Portugal? The long Atlantic coast should give ample opportunity for wind power.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:26:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the end of 2008, Portugal had 2,862MW wind power capacity installed, with 712MW added that year -- that's pretty good in comparison (almost the same per capita as Germany, but at sites with stronger and more sustained wind). But, IIRC, the bulk of electricity production is still with thermal plants fueled with imported coal and oil, and at least until a few years ago, there was net import via Spain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. An important part of of the energy mix is from hydraulic and at least 3 more dams are in project, but environmentalists don't favor those at all, as they are projected for some remote and fairly pristine areas.
by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:58:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EDP, thru its subsidiary EDP Renovavais owns more than 2300 MWs of operating windparks in the US, and a development pipeline of thousands more throughout North America.

EDP Renovavais also operates more than 2000 MWs in Spain, and is active in France, Belgium and Poland with projects operating or under construction.  They also have entered the market in Brazil with a small operating project.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And wave power.

Finnish wave technology pioneer AW Eneregy has a 'proof of scaled concept' running in Peniche, Portugal.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:49:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is an experimental project using wave power but it ran into some technical and finantial issues a few months ago.
by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financials solved - new CEO. Don't know about the technical side.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:59:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, thats maybe a different one. I was thinking of this one:

http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/pelamis-offshore-wave-energy-portugal/

by Torres on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:15:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is different. I know the 'Waveroller' system has had some maintenance problems (near offshore is often an ecosystem that quickly turns any foreign object into habitat) and they are trying out new hydraulics.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 10:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Overton alert!

While Torres description is right on the money it would be good to remember that Portuguese mainstream politics is biased towards the right.

From an European point of view I would say:
CDS - populist, very right wing. According the Portuguese constitution political parties cannot have religious affiliations, but CDS is, in theory Christian Democrat. While this is totally true, do not confuse this with Germanic christian-democrat parties: There is no social faction. The likes of Angela Merkel or Jan-Peter Balkenende are way to the left of these guys.
PSD - While the name means social-democratic party, I would reinforce Torres idea: This is a right of center party.
PS - they are the portuguese PES, but, as Torres said, very Blairite.

by t-------------- on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:08:21 PM EST
PSD - While the name means social-democratic party, I would reinforce Torres idea: This is a right of center party.
PS - they are the portuguese PES, but, as Torres said, very Blairite.

It's strange that a party calling itself "Social Democrat" would be in the EPP but that's the PSD for you. And Barroso is PSD.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:49:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding that the Danish political spectrum is also biased to the right with respect to the names of the parties (for instance, Venstre means 'left' but they are right-wing liberal: back in the 19th century they may have been "left").

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, history; liberals were definitely on the 'left' and 'progressive' and even 'radical' 150, 125 years ago, and that is conserved in lots of party names across Europe.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 01:39:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the academic history in Sweden "right/left" is used for the period until the advent of common and equal suffrage (1920ies) while "borgerlig/socialitisk" (bourgeois/socialist) is used for the period after that. As the focus shifts from political to economical rights, the socialist bloc (soc.dem+communists) dominates and the rest (conservatives+liberals+farmers) form a counterweight in a bourgeois bloc.

The Socialdemocrats are however te only party that has kept its name so no name confusion.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 09:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's strange. I seem to recall some one saying on the subject that, basically, the PS got there first, and the choice of european political family was for PSD one of "lesser evil".
by Torres on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the PSD still has some actual Social Democrats in its ranks, specially some older members.

It seems to me what kept many militants of PSD and PS apart was not actual politics, but rather some deeper clivage, like their relation with religion or free masonry, for example.

As for the elites, well... their power structures have heir own logic, which is quite oblivious of anything like ideology. If not for some twist of fate, Socrates could perfectly be running for PSD (of which he was militant at some point).

Maybe his story is similar to the one at my hometown. Some years ago the local football club president aproached PSD in order to be their candidate for town mayor. Since they refused, he made the same offer to PS, which took it.
This year i believe he is running for national parliament on PS ranks.

by Torres on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the PSD still has some actual Social Democrats in its ranks

So thePSD has actual Social Democrat roots? Interesting; I thought it was a party of right-wing/liberal people from the outset, taking a leftist-sounding name after the Revolution because that was in vogue then and anything that would have sounded right-wing would have been associated with the ancien regime (also see Barroso's reminescences about his 'Maoist'(?) past).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 01:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Torres:
It seems to me what kept many militants of PSD and PS apart was not actual politics, but rather some deeper clivage, like their relation with religion or free masonry, for example.
And it seems to me that what distinguishes political parties is not so much ideology as which social/patronage network (sometimes called "political economy network" in academic literature) they represent.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 03:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to see party ideology increasingly like I see religious creeds: the important part is to delineate the group versus other groups.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 09:26:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 09:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a great term.

Shibboleth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shibboleth (pronounced ˈʃɪbəlɛθ[1] or ˈʃɪbələθ[2]) is any distinguishing practice which is indicative of one's social or regional origin. It usually refers to features of language, and particularly to a word whose pronunciation identifies its speaker as being a member or not a member of a particular group.

And yes, exactly.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 09:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you all for an information discussion.

Please keep the comments coming!

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 03:42:14 PM EST
er ... "informative"

I haz no spel skilz and I R commentating on UR blag.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 03:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting diary! Thanks a lot.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:43:12 PM EST
Thanks Torres, nice account of what's going on.

Just a note, here's how these parties align in the European Parliament:

PS - PES
PSD and CDS - EPP/ED
PCP and BE - GUE/NGL

The only truly pro-European parties are the PS and the PSD, which in practice are both liberal parties. They went to this Summer with a tie at the pools. During August PSD presented its political programme which was based on flat-out Hooverism. A few days later the first positive GDP numbers came out and their strategy was shatered. Since then the campaigned was based on fait-divers that went quite bad to PSD's side. All along the only true issue discussed was the TGV, as Torres already explained. But beyond all the lack of logic in impairing such infrastructure, PSD ended up in a very bad place when Mariano Rajoy (EPP leader at Spain) came out defending the project.

Right now I only see two possible scenarios:

. PS goes at it alone like Guterres did 15 years ago;

. PS and PSD form a liberal block;

I really would like the latter to happen, for that would definitely implode the "liberal dictatorship" that ruled the state during the last 25 years. A liberal block during these troubled times would play into the hands of the Socialists and Conservatives, bringing the ideological debate back to floor and we might even have some real-politik for a change.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 04:58:22 AM EST
Hi Luis,

Regarding your two scenarios:
The first one would be very hard on Socrates, who is a bit of an authoritarian compared to Guterres (remember he ran basically on an Anti-authoritarian platform, since people were a bit fed up with Cavaco Silva's absolute majority government).

The second scenario might cause an implosion as you say. Most likely they would establish a rotten peace between the two parties, that would collapse the moment one felt strong enough to go at elections again. The only thing that might prevent this would be the "(economic)powers that be" discouraging such melt down.

Also, i disagree with you in considering BE anti-European. My knowledge of their thought comes mostly from a blog ran mainly by economists from BE (Ladroes De Bicicletas) and more than once they defended a different UE than the one we have (with this mandate for the CEB, and this leadership from the European Commission), but still a UE.

Regarding BE and also responding to Tiagoantao.
BE is a peculiar party. It's origin is a pot pourri of left wing parties, many who didn't see eye to eye in the past. I heard the other day a communist analyst saying the BE is a "voters party", meaning they don't have the solid structure and social ties of other established parties like, say, his own PCP.

This to me means that although the BE may contain elements of some old fashion left wing radicals, their outwards stance and speach being modern, democratic, open and appealing to a young left wing voter, holds them hostage. The moment they would let the dinossaurs run the show, they would loose their footing.

So, i think the BE is "condemned" to be a modern, responsible, and forward looking left wing party. Or die.

by Torres on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 06:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With all due respect, a party that is confederated with GUE cannot be pro-European. Their stance on NATO is a good example of the remaining "proudly alone" psyche. Fortunately, the young socialist electorate that BE is harnessing will eventually change that for good. It is just a matter of time.

And btw, these parties where all pretty close together in the 1970s, when they where called the Revolutionary Left. Together they supported Otelo in the 1978 presidentials and got 17% of the votes. That remains the benchmark they want to break today.

I find it pretty healthy to have an Utopian Socialist party back at Parliament.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 06:46:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you will find plenty of Eurotribers that are pro-European and not really pro-NATO, i believe.
I'm not familiar with GUE politics so i probably dont have the whole picture.
But as i have stated before, and you seem to agree, the young socialist electorate of the BE won't be very tolerant of hidden agendas if there are any.
by Torres on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 07:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And EU countries that aren't in NATO. I think you can build an argument that NATO is fundamentally an anti-EU organisation at this stage.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 07:15:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurotribers that are pro-European and not really pro-NATO

What an understatement... In fact I think being NATO is a stumbling block for further European integration...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 12:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes i find myself being unnecessarily prudent.
by Torres on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 12:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With all due respect, a party that is confederated with GUE cannot be pro-European. Their stance on NATO is a good example of the remaining "proudly alone" psyche.

You mean that they're pro-NATO?

That's not going to sit very well with the rest of GUE.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 04:08:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taking the chance, how many portuguese ETribers are out there?

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 06:48:32 AM EST
Not every portuguese ETer has set their user preferences to show the country as "Portugal" so we don't really know. Not many more than the ones who were active in this thread.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 07:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"find me a door into summer" (i believe that was his username) has not been around but he is a personal friend, who introduced me to ET. So count one more.
by Torres on Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 07:17:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Torres on Sat Sep 26th, 2009 at 10:15:30 AM EST
It seems PS's gains were from BE, while PSD's losses were to CDS?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 26th, 2009 at 02:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the campaign went on, the initial BE numbers dwindled a bit. Most of them were most likely PS-left voters intent on showing Socrates their discontent, but in the face of a right wing victory they returned to their "safe" votes, assuring PS beat PSD.
At the distance between PS and PSD became larger, the CDS voters who were betting o a PSD victory also returned to their initial position, droping the useful vote.

Mind you, all these polls have to be taken with a ton of salt. Last European elections results were completely unpredicted by polls, except one (and i have no idea if it was for better methods or pure luck.)
The number of undecided votes is still very large. The usual methods appear to assume the undecided have about the same composition as the rest of the population, but i think that can lead to gross misrepresentations.

by Torres on Sat Sep 26th, 2009 at 07:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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