Portuguese elections: far right gaining ground

Portugal will elect a new parliament in early elections on 30 January. According to polls, the far-right populist Chega party led by André Ventura has good chances of becoming the third strongest force in the country. So far Chega has been represented by just one MP in parliament - its leader. The national press complains that Ventura and his empty promises are receiving far too much attention.

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Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Fishing for votes with antisocial, false promises

Diário de Notícias wonders how a party that is effectively calling for an end to the welfare state can be so popular:

“Ventura sticks to the common cause: making the case for radical tax cuts. He refuses to explain how he would finance it. ... It's easy to promise everyone everything when you don't have the slightest intention of fulfilling this promise and, above all, have put together a false programme to disguise the real agenda: the destruction of the welfare state. ... [Chega] guarantees that it would be enough to cut politicians' salaries and social benefits for the poor (which don't even cost 400 million euros a year) for money to start raining down on us. This kind of talk continues to lead people astray.”

Público (PT) /

Too much ado about the provocateur

Público criticises the media for putting right-wing populists in the spotlight:

“The logic of social networks has exerted its pressure, the temptation for journalism to exploit the sensationalism of radical messages or the picaresque has returned. André Ventura has maintained his ability to change the situation on the ground. ... Chega has once again become paramount in the campaign. That's good for keeping their leader on the voters' radar but it's terrible for the discussion about what is important for the country. ... It's one thing to listen to him and question his proposals, but quite another to make him the protagonist.”