Portugal and Spain had long been resisting the far-right surge in European elections, Vox (Spain) and Chega (Portugal) changed the game electing seats in the national parliaments. Chega started out as a personal project by André Ventura, TV celebrity that rose to fame thanks to popular tv shows as commentator on crime and football, I'll eventually write a post with his profile and background.
Since then Chega has attracted all sorts of fringe right-wingers from the traditional Portuguese far right – nostalgic of the old regime –, both Catholic and Evangelic fundamentalists, assorted Liberals/Capitalists and even a handful of Identitarians and Neo-Nazis (although the last two have been facing a purge since the last party convention).
Chega elected two MPs yesterday on the regional elections in the Azores, my homeland. I left the Azores in 2002 when it was still sorts of Paradise on Earth, beautiful landscapes, a Socialist Party government and affordable housing, but that was then; 18 years later the Azores are now one of the poorest regions in Portugal.
It’s been quite a few years since jobs were plentiful, now finding a job in the islands is a hard thing, those that can emigrate to Canada, the USA or mainland Portugal, while those that can’t have to rely on Social Security checks and, as they grow in numbers, so does the grudge of those that are still lucky enough to have a job but that scaringly enough view those on Social Security grants due to chronic unemployment as free loaders and parasites.
Cannot say it is exactly a surprise for Chega to elect two MPs, it had a fertile ground to grow on. What was a surprise was that the ruling Socialist Party no longer has a majority in Parliament nor does the major opposition party and for the first time there are more right-wing MPs than left-wing MPs with the Communist Party losing its seat.
There are only two dreadful options now, either the Socialist Party creates a Central Bloc government with the support of the Social-Democratic Party (don’t let the name fool you, it’s a Neoliberal and Conservative party) in Parliament or all the right-wing MPs join forces with the far-right to form government.
PS | Socialist Party [Social-Democrat/Democratic Socialist] - 25
PSD | Social-Democrat Party [Neoliberal/Conservative] - 21
CDS/PP | People's Party [Conservative/Christian-Democrat] - 3
CH | Chega [Far Right] - 2
PPM | Monarchist People's Party [Conservative/Monarchist] - 2
BE | Left Bloc [Democratic Socialist] - 2
IL | Liberal Initiative [Libertarian/Neoliberal] - 1
PAN | People Animals and Nature [Animalist/Ecologist] – 1
Total of left-wing + ecologist MPs: 28
Total of right-wing + far-right MPs: 29
No good choices for the Azorean people here, the Socialist Party government is considering summoning new elections, I'll follow up on that.
Curious note: Oddly enough, although the Azores are an autonomous region with its own government and flag, the far-right only used the flag of Portugal on its gatherings and street walks.