The Social Democrats (the nearest
thing to Tories the Portuguese have) suffered a historic defeat receiving a very
low proportion of the vote despite turnout increasing by 5%.
Importantly the Left Bloc went from three to eight
MP's reflecting an increase in their vote from 150,000 votes to over 365,000 votes
(from over 2% to over 6%).
The Left Bloc was a sister
organisation to the Socialist Alliance in the UK and had a very similar history.
It first stood for elections in 1999 and was comprised of the pre-existing
socialist groups (not including the Communist Party) plus independent
They took the decision to turn these
supporting groups into internal factions whose public activity would all be
under the banner of the Bloc, and launch regular well resourced Bloc
publications. This has resulted in steady success both at elections and in terms
of growth in membership.
A key policy at this election was
for the legalisation of abortion, a policy that the party put at the forefront
of its election material, despite the risk of losing Catholic votes. There have
been high profile cases in the courts on abortion over the last year and is a
key front in the struggle for women's rights in Portugal.
You can visit the Left Bloc's website at