Portugal returned a right-wing alliance to power in Sunday's (2 December) general elections, just five years after the overthrow of half a century of fight-wing dictatorship.
Portugal returned a right-wing alliance to power in Sunday's (2 December) general elections, just five years after the overthrow of half a century of fight-wing dictatorship. The Democratic Alliance led by 45 year old Francisco Sa Carneiro gained 128 seats in Parliament, giving it a majority of six over the combined opposition of socialists, communists and one deputy from the extreme left People's Democratic Union.
SYNOPSIS: Since the overthrow of the rightwing dictatorship in 1974, Portugal has been committed to a Socialist model of development but this time the socialists were on the defensive. Centre Democrat leader Diogu Freitas do Amaral played a major role in the Conservative offensive.
Socialist leader Mario Soares has accused the Democratic Alliance of planning a return to the social injustices of the past, while the Communists claim that Democratic Alliance win is just a short step from dictatorship. Communist leader Alvaro Cunhal heads one of the most orthodox Marxist-leninist parties in Europe, but ironically despite the swing to the Conservatives the Communists gained seven more seats in the election.
Mario de Lourdes Pintasilgo, Portugal's first woman Prime Minister, had a hard task during her reign as interim leader. preparing for the elections called to break the political deadlock arising from the collapse of the Socialist-Conservative alliance. The Democratic Alliance considers its victory a major defeat for Marxism, and both Alliance leader Francesco Sa Carneiro and Freitas do Amaral appeared confident that their victory would herald a new period of stability. First Sa carneiro: