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Portugal a country without populism

The European elections are approaching, and Brussels fears a populist tsunami across the continent. In Portugal, however, this phenomenon is not catching on. For several reasons, explains the weekly EXPRESSO.

In the week leading up to December 21, seeing how the movement had developed in France. Portugal held its breath. The President of the Republic made a series of declarations and also promised that at the Portugal we did not resort to undue violenceciting our latest revolution as an example, "carried out with carnations.

And the mountain gave birth to a mouse. The most emblematic image of the day is undoubtedly that of the gathering on the square Marquês de Pombal, Lisbon. Twenty or so demonstrators surrounded by a police cordon at least twice that size. The state was prepared, but in Portugal. Angry civil society, dissatisfied with its political class, did not respond to the call. Could it be that this electorate does not exist? Is the failure to express indignation on December 21 a sign of the gap between virtual promises and concrete action? Is there real discontent? If so, why hasn't it translated into protest action or electoral change?

These few successes serve as a bulwark against populism in Portugal

In October, the Portuguese government announced its intention to reduce its public deficit to 0.2% of GDP in 2019. The following year, it will be abolished altogether.

For the time being, these successes have served as a bulwark against populism, but the country is not immune.

None of the parties represented in Parliament are populists. But the possibility cannot be ruled out. Especially as we know that Portugalpeople are very disconnected from politics. They support democracy as an ideal regime, but they don't rely on parties or leaders. This wave of mistrust could also one day be captured by someone with a certain amount of media influence," comments political scientist João Tiago Gaspar.

But beyond the economic aspect, Portugal has positioned itself as one of the most conciliatory interlocutors on the question of migration. In the EU's refugee-sharing program. The country ranks 6th.

A policy of openness that can also be explained by demographics at half-mast: the population has been falling for almost 10 years.

"I'm convinced that we'll be able to reverse these xenophobic trends. It's true that we are witnessing the emergence of a wave of contestation, for not recognizing fundamental values and human rights; in short, for rejecting all the elements that form the basis of the European project. Portugal is not one of the countries following this wave." says Rosa Monteiro, Portugal's Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality.

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