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US Election in Portugal: the sulphurous populist André Ventura makes clear progress in the ballot box

11:05  25 january  2021
11:05  25 january  2021 Source:   leparisien.fr

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André Ventura . Carlos Guimarães Pinto. The turnout in this election was the lowest ever in a general election in Portugal , with just 48.6% of registered voters casting a ballot . In Portugal alone, 54.5% of voters cast a ballot , a drop compared with the 57% in the 2015 election .

Portugal holds a presidential election on Sunday, and the moderate incumbent candidate is But an intriguing question for many Portuguese is how well a brash new populist challenger fares in the ballot . Ventura ticks the populist boxes . He wants heavier prison sentences, including currently

Dimanche, le candidat d’extrême droite a engrangé 11,9 % des suffrages et près d’un demi-million de voix. © AFP / Pedro Rocha On Sunday, the far-right candidate won 11.9% of the vote and nearly half a million votes.

If he remained far from qualifying Sunday for the second round of the Portuguese presidential election, the populist André Ventura has clearly progressed in the polls. His score marks a significant rise of the far right in a country which, until now, was an exception.

According to almost complete official results, this skillful and ambitious provocateur almost achieved his secondary objective, which was to overtake the socialist Ana Gomes to come second, behind the moderate conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, easily re-elected.

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Portugal has not so far seen the same anti-establishment surge from the right that have reshaped the political Ventura – an ally of Marine Le Pen of France and Italy’s Matteo Salvini – secured his As mail-in ballots are not well-established in Portugal , early voting was available the previous Sunday

The European Parliament election of 2019, in Portugal , elected the Portuguese delegation to the European Parliament from 2019 to 2024. This was the eighth European election held in Portugal . The election was held on Sunday, 26 May 2019.

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But at 38 years old, with his three-day beard and his well-cut suits, André Ventura continues to move forward with great strides across the Portuguese political landscape. This lawyer by training embarked on this presidential race just one year after entering Parliament, as the sole deputy of the anti-system "Chega" ("that's enough") party.

The formation he himself founded obtained in the 2019 legislative elections a score of 1.3%, or 70,000 votes. Sunday, he garnered 11.9% of the vote and nearly half a million votes. "It's a historic evening in Portugal, which sees the right reconfigure itself completely," he said. Described by some as "the Portuguese Trump", this devout Catholic has also established himself in public debate by causing outcry and surfing controversy.

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But a new right-wing populist , André Ventura , may capture around 11% of the vote, opinion polls indicate, and could secure second place in a runoff. How is an election held during a pandemic? Portugal , which is in a lockdown, has one of the worst rates of infections and deaths in

The Portuguese legislative election of 1991 took place on 6 October. The election renewed all 230 members of the Assembly of the Republic. There was a reduction of 20 seats compared with previous elections , due to the 1989 Constitutional revision.

Serial controversies

He, for example, defended a special sanitary containment plan for Roma communities, or proposed that a member of Parliament born in Guinea-Bissau, who wanted to return works of art to the former Portuguese colonies, either " returned to his country of origin ”.


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André Ventura hammered during the campaign that he wanted to defend "the well-meaning Portuguese" against "profiteers" of all kinds of a "system" that he wants to transform from the inside.

Ally of the French Marine Le Pen and the Italian Matteo Salvini, but not of the Spaniards of Vox, André Ventura does not demand that Portugal leave the European Union.

Já estamos em Lisboa com a Marine Le Pen. pic.twitter.com/AdvuN8i7Vi

- André Ventura (@AndreCVentura) January 8, 2021

And, if he doesn't come across as a nostalgic for the fascist dictatorship that ended in 1974, he is the first to give as much echo to ideas until now carried only by groups of extreme right.

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Voters set to reject populist trend in Europe as mainstream parties lead polls. However in Portugal , political tradition is still what it used to be. The two mainstream parties are expected to garner the most votes in Sunday's ballot , with the centre-left Socialist Party showing an opinion poll lead of at least 7

Portugal has largely not seen the same surge in support for populist parties that many of its fellow EU If official results mirror the exit polls, the election would indicate a large jump in support for the far-right candidate. Voters in Portugal brave lockdown for polls. Pandemic overshadows election .

"The ground was fertile because the populist attitudes against the system, the elites and the politicians, are very widespread", explained the political scientist Marina Costa Lobo before the poll on Sunday. “And, during this electoral campaign, André Ventura did not seek to attract all the populist electorate. He has clearly positioned himself on the extreme right, ”said this researcher from the University of Lisbon.

A former sports commentator

André Ventura thus profited from a weakening of the two parties of the traditional right, still penalized by the austerity cure that they imposed on the Portuguese after the debt crisis of 2011. Charismatic, the founder of "Chega" is also a contradictory character. "An anti-system candidate created by the system," according to a phrase from the local press.

Originally from the suburbs of Lisbon, he was a tax inspector before resuming his law studies to write a doctoral thesis, where he criticized “penal populism” and “stigmatization of minorities”. He built his notoriety as a television commentator, where he argued fiercely as a supporter of Benfica Lisbon, the country's most popular football club.

In parallel, he climbed the ranks of the main center-right formation, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), for which he was a candidate in the municipal elections of 2017. It was then that he became known to the great public, accusing the Roma of living in dependence on social assistance. Beaten at the ballot box and criticized by his own camp, he immediately left the PSD to found his own movement.

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