Portugal 50 years after the Carnation Revolution

Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the fall of Portugal's Salazar dictatorship. The Carnation Revolution symbolises Portugal's path to democracy, European integration and the relinquishing of its colonies. The press reflects on the state of the country against the backdrop of the most recent parliamentary elections in which the Chega party, which is ideologically close to the Salazar regime, became the third strongest political force in the country.

Open/close all quotes
Correio da Manhã (PT) /

Healthy and euphoric

For Correio da Manhã the high voter turnout in the recent parliamentary elections shows how vibrant Portugal's democracy is at 50:

“As the course of history would have it, the anniversary on 25 April comes at a time when an optimistic view of democracy resulted in a significant drop in abstention in the last parliamentary elections - something the biggest sceptics always believed would be impossible. In the end, more Portuguese went to the polls than in previous decades. ... The new parties have reconciled many abstainers with the system. Young people showed clear support, and a certain electoral euphoria returned to Portugal.”

Observador (PT) /

Not the time for rose-coloured glasses

In remembering the dreadful past, one must take care not to sugarcoat the present, Observador warns:

“50 years later the country is still lagging behind and losing its boldest people to emigration. In these 50 years Portugal has gone bankrupt three times, and in recent years it has experienced something even more disturbing: the bankruptcy of the welfare state and the decline of institutions such as public schools, which guaranteed upward mobility. Although the evils of the past do not excuse the problems of the present they do serve as a sort of respite, as if by providing an ugly counterpoint one can at least play them down somewhat.”

Expresso (PT) /

Pull of the past still strong

The right wing is trying to turn back the clock, journalist Paulo Baldaia warns in Expresso:

“This right regards with a certain amount of envy the excesses of wokeness, which it calls gender ideology or the sovietisation of schools. As the anniversary on 25 April approaches, they feel very uncomfortable and dream of a return to a time when the motto was 'God, homeland and family'. ... Thirty-four percent of the Portuguese prefer strong leaders who don't have to worry about elections or the opposition. As we can see, there is still plenty of room for manoeuvre for this reactionary right that feels the need to fight for a return to the past.”