Developing right-wing extremism and more strikes: what’s in store for Portugal in 2019

Major questions for this election year were being addressed before the clock struck midnight on December 31.

Jornal Económico, for instance, was alerting to the growth of right-wing extremism in Portugal, mirroring movements in Germany, Italy and “more recently, Andalucia” in Spain.

For now, citing 2017’s annual report by the security service, Portuguese groups like “Nova Orden Social” (New Social Order), Lisboa Nossa (Our Lisbon) and Portugueses Primeiro (Portuguese First) have had almost imperceptible impact on what JE calls the ‘national panorama’. But the legislative elections in October “will be the first test of their capacity”, albeit that “no one expects major upsets in the current political spectrum”.

Nonetheless, the wave of strikes that have marked 2018 are here to stay, the paper asserts, “not just because the problems that inflamed workers in more than 20 sectors persist, but because the parties that support the Socialist government now have to distance themselves in order to capitalise on all the discontent at the ballot box”.

Prime minister António Costa may have “whistled in the air and said there was no reason for social alarm” in his Christmas message but health minister Marta Temido has already shown the government is prepared to use “all the instruments under the Law to ensure citizens do not become hostages to workers’ demands”, says the paper.

These instruments include ‘civil requisitions’ that would force services to be maintained (in the event of further disruptions in the health service).