On 30 January, voters will choose the members of the parliament who will represent them for another four years. These elections, in which only Portuguese citizens over 18 can vote, will take place earlier than expected, after the previous government led by António Costa from PS failed to approve the State Budget for 2022, causing a “political crisis” that forced early elections.
Despite the great many differences between these parties, there are several points in which the proposals are similar, namely with regard to taxes, the importance of mental health and the value of the National Health (SNS) and education.
Formed in 1973, PS is one of the main parties in Portugal, currently being the main party in parliament and, consequently, the one in government with António Costa as Prime-Minister. It is a centre-left party with progressive, Keynesian, pro-European and social-democracy ideologies. Basically, it's a moderate left-wing party.
This year, due to the political crisis, the PS campaign is focused on promoting political stability, appealing for an absolute majority in parliament.
For the upcoming elections, the socialist party defends the establishment of free kindergartens until 2024 and increasing, by 25 percent compared to 2017, the number of exporting companies reaching a volume of GDP equivalent to 53 percent in 2030 and to continue to focus on renewable energies in electricity production.
Regarding labour rules, PS wants to increase the minimum wage to €900 and opens a window for a debate around a four-day workweek, as well as hybrid work models.
To offset the costs resulting from the increase in the minimum wage, the PS intends to create an adequate tax framework for companies that “ensure, alongside the creation of net employment, consistent salary policies in terms of income, focused on valuing the resources”.
Social Democratic Party
Founded in 1974, the PSD is a centre-right party, with conservative and liberal economic positions led by Rui Rio. This party is, alongside the PS, one of the main parties in Portugal.
They are focusing their campaign on reducing taxes, namely for companies through the corporate income tax (IRC) rate from 21 to 17 percent. In addition, they also intend to promote a VAT reduction in restaurants between July 2022 and December 2023 to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
In terms of health, they want to guarantee a doctor for each family, strengthen the palliative and continuous care network, implement a programme to support dependent elderly people and recognise the importance of formal and informal caregivers. For the environment, they are planning to increase green spaces in urban areas and protect biodiversity.
Bloco de Esquerda
The Bloco de Esquerda (BE), which in English means Left Block, is led by Catarina Martins, who presents a manifesto proposing to allow legal immigrants in Portugal to vote in parliamentary elections. This party identifies with ideologies such as: Democratic Socialism; Progressivism; Feminism; Ecosocialism; Social democracy; Anti-racism and Internationalism.
Although BE has never ruled in the Government, it has reached an opposition force that brought to the table various contentious issues related to LGBT rights, women's rights, euthanasia, medically assisted procreation, legalisation of cannabis, among others.
In addition, for four years, they ruled with the PS and the communist party in a coalition that allowed the viability of successive state budgets - this coalition became known as 'gerigonça'.
Among their manifesto proposals are: improving the railways between Lisbon and Porto, reducing bus transport prices, banning cars in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto and the end of real estate funds. In addition, they hope to protect the elderly against eviction and promote access to Justice, fighting job insecurity and reducing VAT on electricity and natural gas, among many other social proposals.
Founded in 1974, this party is led by Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos and was traditionally (before Chega and Iniciativa Liberal) the rightmost party in parliament.
This party usually presents more conservative proposals than PSD. In addition, CDS-PP is an anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia party. They also want to increase the punishment of several crimes such as setting fires, offense against police officers and crimes committed by politicians.
For these upcoming elections, they intend to promote free access to medicines for the elderly, provide the SNS (National Health Service) with mental health and dentistry services. In addition, they intend to privatise TAP and reduce transport taxes, reduce corporate income tax (IRC) as well as eliminate any tax on the purchase of a first property.
The unitary democratic coalition is a coalition made between “Os Verdes”, which means “The Greens” (an environmentalist party) and the Portuguese communist party, who always run in elections together. This party is the oldest one in Portugal and currently its spokesman is Jerónimo de Sousa. It was also part of the political coalition between CDU, BE and PS called 'geringonça' between 2015 and 2019. Their ideologies are based on Marxism-Leninism, communism, socialism, proletarian internationalism, anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-xenophobia and anti-capitalism.
One of the main themes for these upcoming elections for this party is health. In this sense, they want to increase the number of health professionals to guarantee more exams, consultations and surgeries and guarantee family doctors and nurses for everyone and accelerate the purchase of medical equipment. They want to promote free education in universities as well as in kindergartens. In addition, they want to support culture and help small bookstores.
In terms of employment, one of the proposals is to reduce the working week to 35 hours a week and increase holidays to 25 days. For the environment, they seek free public transport and the adoption of a national energy plan that aims at the sustainable use of energy. In addition, they want to promote social housing and energy efficiency.
People-Animals-Nature (PAN), founded in 2009, currently has four members of parliament. It achieved its first parliamentary representation in the election of 2015 taking on issues that had not been taken up by traditional parties, such as animal’s welfare and the protection of the environment and human rights.
The PAN party is a progressive, ecofeminist, animalist and environmentalist party that fights against cruelty to animals, and is identified neither from the right nor from the left.
In terms of taxes PAN aims to lower the corporate income tax rate to 17 percent by 2026. Regarding Health, the party insists that it is essential to strengthen the SNS and value its professionals, and admits that the private and public health Care can work together whenever useful. The PAN also highlights the importance of guaranteeing equal access to health for everyone, “through free transport” and the integration of alternative therapies in health structures.
Founded in 2019 by André Ventura - its current leader - CHEGA is a far-right, nationalist and social conservatism party that defends the reduction of State intervention in the economy. The party calls for a less intervention of the state in the economy, reducing the benefits of those “who don’t want to work and are dependent on social benefits”. They support life imprisonment for murders and chemical castration for child abusers and are against abortion and euthanasia.
CHEGA wants to recognise hunting and bullfighting as relevant traditional activities and value the family as the core pillar of society, defending social morality.
In addition, it aims to reduce taxes, namely IRC and wants to implement a flat tax in IRS (personal income tax). In terms of housing, they want to facilitate housing by facilitating the permit to build houses on rural land.
Also, they want to revoke any law that aims to protect any minority, harming the majority and defending the private retirement savings system.
This recent party, founded in 2017, led by João Cotrim Figueiredo, is the first liberal political force in Portugal. The country does not have a liberal culture in politics, which makes this political vision new in the country. They promote respect for people's freedom not only in economic matters, but also in politics and social issues. What sets them apart from other right-wing parties is that they often vote in favour of contentious issues like euthanasia and abortion, etc.
In this campaign, the party is focused on economic growth, reducing taxes and supporting a flat income tax. This party also believes in a system of loans to support university students, instead of the current scholarship system that exists in Portugal as they reject social benefits in most cases.
In relation to housing, they stand up for a reduction in VAT on real estate construction for housing to 6 percent, the end of some taxes on the purchase of your own housing and the reduction of the tax rate applied to rental to 15 percent. They also defend the privatisation of public companies such as the airline TAP and radio and broadcast RTP.
The party, whose name in English means freedom, is a recent party, founded in 2014. Livre is an ecosocialist political party with principles such as: universalism, freedom, solidarity, socialism, ecology and Europeanism, which has its first parliamentary seat in 2019.
One of the main points of this party’s manifesto is the Universal Basic Income, in which every adult citizen would receive a set amount of money – the goal is to eliminate poverty.
In addition to increasing the national minimum wage to €1,000 and supporting remote work by giving the possibility of extending the right to work remotely to those who have children under the age of 12, pregnant workers, workers with health problems or caregivers, this party aims to support micro-businesses.
Also, Livre promotes a Green New Deal for Portugal - an ecologically responsible medium-long term investment plan (through the new community support framework - Portugal 2030).
For animal welfare, they hope to reduce VAT from 23 percent to six percent on vets and pet food and ban bullfighting activities in Portugal. Livre is in favour of legalising the consumption of cannabis and wants to strengthen the SNS.