BE leader Catarina Martins is “shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”

Left Bloc (BE) leader Catarina Martins is one of the 28 people American website Politico says are “shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”.

The only woman to head a major political party in Portugal is placed 27th on the list, only a few months after she led BE to third place in October’s legislative elections, with a record number of 550,892 votes.

“In a Europe embroiled in political upheaval, Portugal looked like a haven of two-party business as usual … until Catarina Martins came along,” the website writes, adding that “the 42-year-old actress with a penchant for jeans and red blouses has shaken up a Lisbon political scene dominated by men in suits”.

Politico also highlights Martins’ role in the creation of the first Socialist government in Portugal to be backed by the radical left, saying it “sent shivers through Europe’s establishment”.

Politico adds that the BE leader “combined straight-talking to woo centrist voters, and hard-edged rhetoric to rally activists” and works with “a supporting cast of young women that includes star parliamentary performer Mariana Mortágua, 29, and Marisa Matias, 39, the Bloc’s candidate in January’s presidential elections”.

Politico’s list is led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán – the man who constructed a fence along his country’s border with Croatia to repel incoming refugees – followed by Europe’s Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager and feisty leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon.

[email protected]