|Author (Person)||Abbott, Dennis|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.8, No.11, 21.3.02, p13|
THE victory of the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) in Sunday's Portuguese election is seen as yet another slap in the face for Europe's left - and not a good omen for Lionel Jospin or Gerhard Schröder in the French and German elections.
'One country after another Europe is turning its back on benevolent socialism and voting instead for free-market reform and tough curbs on immigration,' writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph.
Italy, Denmark and Norway have all swung to the Right over the past year and Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau warns that the latest election result 'should serve as a warning to comrades in Paris, Berlin and Stockholm', where Göran Persson faces the electorate in September.
Portugal's PSD leader José Manuel Durão Barroso won 40 of the vote, with Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues' Socialists polling just under 38. The result raises the prospect of 45-year-old Barroso forming a coalition with the radical right-wing Popular Party - an alliance he will not relish, according to Peter Wise of the Financial Times.
PP leader Paulo Portas is a former newspaper editor who delivered scathing attacks on a previous PSD government in which Barroso was foreign minister. However Portuguese commentators believe the PSD leader may have no option but to link up with his nemesis: 'A scenario in which the left becomes a minority...makes separating the waters easier and negates governmental solutions that would be distortions of the clear popular will' writes Mario Bettencourt in Diario de Noticias.
But back to the FT for the final word...its Boulevard column declares the biggest winner in Sunday's election to be Helen Sacadura Cabral. She's the mother of Paulo Portas and his brother Miguel, who led the Left Bloc party, the only Socialist Party to increase its share of the vote.
'The two brothers grew up in different homes after their parents separated - and clearly their political ideals diverged widely,' explains the column. 'Paulo wants children to sing the national anthem every morning and tougher immigration controls. Miguel wants liberalised abortion laws, higher taxes for the rich and legalised soft drugs'.
Chances are that Paulo would get on famously with former UK premier Margaret Thatcher, who's making the headlines again with her latest bout of EU-bashing in a new book, Statecraft.
In it, Maggie describes the Union as 'fundamentally unreformable' and says Britain should join America, Canada and Mexico in the North American Free Trade Association. Her views were naturally condemned by the UK's
two representatives on the European Commission. In a BBC interview, Chris Patten said Thatcher had followed some of her opinions and prejudices 'to their extremities', while Neil Kinnock told The Guardian that the woman who twice defeated him in general elections had sunk to 'pub bore politics'.
It all makes the exchanges earlier this year surrounding the publication of another grande femme's memoirs, in this case Nicole Fontaine, seem very tame by comparison.
The former European Parliament president had a few unkind things to say about the German leader of the EPP, Hans-Gert Pöttering, but even he refrained from describing Fontaine as a pub bore.
Article discusses the demise of Europe's left following the victory of the centre right Social Democrats in the Portuguese elections on 24 March 2002.
|Countries / Regions||Portugal|