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The far right in Portugal is growing stronger. He has a chance to join the ruling coalition

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The Chega Party has a chance to transform the Portuguese political scene during the early parliamentary elections. Critics say it is an extreme right-wing group that has introduced “toxically racist” content into the political mainstream. They call themselves populists who – as they claim – are the only ones who can save the country from collapse.

Chega means “enough” in Portuguese. Chega’s party says enough is enough to the LGBTQ community, closer European integration, and immigrants. According to Chega, Portuguese people of Arab or African descent should prove their Portugueseness.

– Lisbon, Porto and other cities are like firecrackers that may explode at any time due to illegal or even legal immigration. We don’t want it to be like in Belgium and France, says Andre Ventura, leader of the Chega party.

Chega’s slogans are copy-and-pasted from the manifestos of other far-right parties in Europe, but Portuguese populists place an exceptionally strong emphasis on slogans fighting corruption and nepotism, because this is the main theme of the campaign before the early parliamentary elections. They were announced in November after longtime Prime Minister Antonio Costa was investigated for corruption and abuse of power.

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Read also: Demonstrations of thousands after the disclosure of information about a secret meeting of the far right. “Now is the time to react”

– People are angry at the whole system. Nothing changes in this country. Bandits are getting stronger and corruption is growing. Voting for the far right is a sign of rebellion, says Mario Goncalves, a voter of the far right.

Chega may join the government

The extreme right will not win the elections, polls put it in third place, but it is possible that its support may be necessary to form a government coalition. It would be an almost Copernican revolution, because after the Carnation Revolution of 1974, which ended the over 40-year dictatorship of António Salazar, the right wing in Portugal was pushed to the margins. Today, Chega is counting on up to 20 percent support and votes from far-left voters, including communists.

– There is no logic in this. Leftist voters suddenly start voting for Chega. I don’t understand this mentality. How can the working class suddenly support the far right? – asks Joao Martins, a voter of the Communist Party.

In the small commune of Sao Vicente, right next to the border with Spain, up to every third resident wants to vote for the far right. Local authorities explain that it is a voice of rebellion. – A vote for them is primarily an objection to the central government. There is no racism in our commune, people are very hospitable and friendly. I don’t see radical attitudes in our country, emphasizes Joao Charruadas, mayor of the commune of Sao Vicente e Ventosa.

Who heads the party?

Chega’s meteoric career began only 5 years ago. Its boss, André Ventura, is a lawyer and former football commentator. He started out in politics as a center-right activist, only later becoming radicalized. Two years ago, he ran in the elections under the slogan: “God, homeland, family and work.”

See also: The extreme right wants a referendum on Germany’s exit from the EU

– When the extreme left lacks arguments, it starts accusing people of fascism. If you say: we must fight corruption, you are a fascist, if you say: we must control immigration, you are a xenophobe, if you say: you must fight corruption, they say you are a radical. If you say that useless jobs in some offices need to be cut, they will say that you are a populist, says Ventura.

Chega’s politicians are also described as populists in the European arena. Her political allies in the European Parliament are the French Marine Le Pen, the Italian Matteo Salvini and the Alternative for Germany.

Author:Jakub Loska

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: CHEGA TV

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