Confidence in bourgeois democracy in decline in Portugal

The results of the local elections on September 29th are highlighted with a decline in voter turnout accompanied with an increase in blank and invalid votes.

Bourgeois parties losing support.

While the elections were a complete defeat for the current government parties the liberal PSD (Social Democratic Party) and the conservative CDS-PP (People's Party), the results do not show good signs for the other parties too.

Here are the results, as emphasized by mainstream media (in comparison with the last local elections):

2013 2009
Socialist Party (PS) %35 %37
Right-wing coalitions (PSD, CDS-PP etc.) %34 %41
Democratic Unity Coalition (CDU) (Portuguese Communist Party and Ecologist Party “The Greens”) %12 %11
Left Bloc (BE) %3 %4

As can be noted, the government parties – which provoked a massive public dissent due to the austerity measures they introduced – had their worst local elections in history. While the votes of central left Socialist Party (PS) and the Left Bloc (BE) decreased, the only organization that significantly increased its number of representatives in the municipal assemblies was the Democratic Unity Coalition (CDU).

Increased distrust to the political system being voiced.

However, there is another remarkable trend that the above figure hides. With the exception of CDU which slightly increased its votes, all political parties gained less number of votes in absolute terms. Among approximately 9 million electorates, right-wing parties lost 700 thousand votes while the number of votes for PS fell by 250 thousand.

During the anti-Troika (IMF, ECB, European Commission) protests in March where 1 million people went to streets nationwide (approximately 10% of the population), it was claimed by some that public trust on “within system” solutions was in decline. This claim seems to be supported by the local election results.

2013 2009
Voter turnout % 52,56 % 58,98
Blank votes (as percentage of total votes) % 4,32 % 1,99
Invalid votes (as percentage of total votes) % 3,07 % 1,28

According to this, some 500 thousand more electorates did not cast their votes, compared to 2009. And among those who actually voted, the amount of blanks and invalids more than doubled. This figure further demonstrates that the decrease in percentages in the previous figure actually signify a sharper decline in real number of votes.

New demonstrations on the way

In 2011, the minority government of the Socialist Party was not able to pass the Troika pack in the parliament and, further affected by mass demonstrations, resigned. After the elections, PSD and CDS-PP formed a right-wing coalition government and started implementing the austerity measures of Troika, creating tremendous dissent and unrest among the Portuguese society due to increased unemployment and poverty. This in turn resulted in mass demonstrations unprecedented in the country's history. The strong left-wing trade union confederation made a call for a protest on October 19th in Lisbon and Porto, while there is yet another call for a mass demonstration on October 26th in Lisbon with the motto “There is no such thing as dead-end.”

Source: , visited: September 30th, 2013. 15:00 local time. All numbers are based on the votes for municipal assemblies. While the results for mayorship and neighborhood units are similar, as different coalitions were made in various districts, the presentation of such data is more complicated.
We further note that the numbers are based on %99.42 of the results, while there was not yet an official declaration from the state authorities on the exact data.

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