Daily Review: What the Rise of Portugal’s Far Right Means

Daily Review: What the Rise of Portugal’s Far Right Means
Andre Ventura, leader of populist far-right party Chega, addresses supporters after the announcement of results for Portugal’s general election in Lisbon, March 11, 2024 (AP photo by Joao Henriques).

Results from Portugal’s general elections yesterday showed the country’s two moderate mainstream parties, the Socialists and the Democratic Alliance, each winning around 29 percent of the vote, with about 99 percent of voting districts having counted their ballots. Meanwhile, the populist far-right party Chega surged in support, with over 18 percent of the vote. (New York Times)

Our Take

The results in Portugal’s election haven’t yet been finalized, with four parliamentary seats representing voters abroad still to be determined. But the Socialist Party still conceded defeat last night, paving the way for Luis Montenegro, the leader of the major party within the center-right Democratic Alliance, to form a government.

It’s unclear how Montenegro will do so, though, since he has ruled out forming a coalition with Chega, which more than doubled its vote share from elections just two years ago. The surge in support for the populist party signals the end of what has often been called Portuguese “exceptionalism,” as the country was until yesterday one of the few European countries where the far right remained electorally irrelevant.

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