Since the Carnation Revolution, in 1974, that brought Portugal to a democratic regime, the Portuguese political system underwent significant changes. Among the most relevant are: the consolidation of the regime and the internalization of democratic values; the stabilization of the party system and increased government stability; or the accession to the European Union.
In recent decades, new challenges have been imposed to the system (or old ones, but with higher intensity). For instance, citizens’ increased disinterest in politics, distrust of national and European political institutions and actors, disengagement of political parties, and, consequently, deepened political disaffection. This trend was accentuated by the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2010 and consequent austerity measures. However, at the system level, contrary to other countries severely affected by the crisis, the Portuguese party system remained unchanged and mainstream parties kept their electoral support. The levels of regime support also persisted almost untouched and unprecedented government solutions have been implemented, bringing together the ruling party and radical anti-austerity parties.
Therefore, the Portuguese past and present politics raises a number of interesting research questions. Eg. how do we reconcile citizens’ political dissatisfaction with the stability of the party system? Why does support for the regime prevail at high levels? Why did not populist parties emerge in Portugal?
The “Portuguese Politics” session is structured in three main themes:
• Portuguese political parties and party system dynamics: Differentiation and alignment.
• Political attitudes and behavior: The effects of the Euro crisis
• Cabinet formation, governance and austerity policy