Rui Cristina: Image from Rui Cristina's Facebook

Algarve MP (formerly PSD) confirms he’s standing as independent candidate for CHEGA

Portugal’s 3rd political force has “project to change country”

One of a number of formerly PSD MPs to decamp ahead of looming elections to CHEGA – Portugal’s ‘up and coming’ 3rd political force – the Algarve’s Rui Cristina has addressed his first event as an independent candidate for the party.

According to Lusa, in an initiative at Sacavém Centro Cultural today destined to present the general lines of CHEGA’s electoral programme, Rui Cristina – now a non-inscribed MP – was one of the most applauded speakers.

He stressed his decision to quit PSD – to represent Évora in the coming elections – “did not come from one day to the next.

“I have known André Ventura (CHEGA’s leader) since the 2016 congress”, he said. “I am the independent candidate for CHEGA because I believe in André, in the political project that CHEGA has for our country.

“Since 2019, the politics of CHEGA have won over the Portuguese: first there was one MP, today there are 12, tomorrow there will be many more”, he said – evoking, says Lusa, the well-known phrase of former PSD leader Carlos Mota Pinto: “Today we are many, tomorrow we will be millions”.

Further on in his speech, Rui Cristina even cited PSD founder Francisco Sá Carneiro with regard to the difficulty facing him in Évora – a seat where CHEGA has no representation this far: “Politics without risk is boring”.

The bottom line of Cristina’s intervention was that, in his opinion, CHEGA will bring “the necessary governmental stability to Portugal” at a point where it would be “inadmissible” to continue with the corruption “in the parties of the arc of power. 

“Not just in the office of the prime minister, now also in Madeira”, he went on – referring to the latest corruption probe that appears to have brought down yet another Portuguese executive.

Looking at the events of the last couple of months (Operation Influencer on the mainland, and the corruption investigations assailing PSD Madeira), it would be true to say that CHEGA appears to have been handed a golden opportunity: the parties ahead of it in the polls are both beset by potential scandals pointing to suspicions of the worst kind of cronyism. As CHEGA’s latest election campaign posters say: “SO MANY TAXES to pay for the corruption”.


Rui Cristina – who slammed the door on PSD last week, after the Algarve branch of the party had registered its discontent over the choosing of candidates – concluded that he is aligned with CHEGA’s policies in areas like education, health and justice, and believes the party “is actually the political force that has a project to change the country”.

He is by no means the only formerly PSD MP to embrace CHEGA: others include Eduardo Teixeira (representing the party now in Viana do Castelo), Henrique de Freitas (the candidate for Portalegre), António Pinto Pereira (candidate for Coimbra) and Francisco Gomes, standing in Madeira (almost certain to have elections some time after March). 

Another PSD MP Maló de Abreu was recently announced as a new ‘recruit’ to CHEGA’s ranks, but stories then surfaced about him claiming financial subsidies for a residence in Luanda (when he lived mainly in Portugal) and the party has now ‘dropped him’ as a candidate.

Even Iniciative Liberal has seen its MP Nuno Simões de Melo move over to CHEGA, to be the candidate for Guarda.

[email protected]