The new symbol
The new symbol "responds to new contexts determined by the sophistication of dynamic digital communication"

New national symbol opens (another) political war

PS Socialists paid €74,000 for simplified logo of national flag

The choice of a new institutional symbol for the government of Portugal has opened yet another political war, and is already a theme in the upcoming election campaign, writes Correio da Manhã today.

That a country with so many pressing problems can be bothered by a simple logo is sign possibly of why Portugal has so many pressing problems. But first to the situation ‘right now/ today’: the PS Socialist government has roughly 24-hours left in which it can function ‘normally’. Tomorrow, president Marcelo will officially relieve the government of its mandate, leaving it in a kind of management capacity until the legislative elections in March.

PM António Costa has already stressed that his administration will be leaving “everything in order” for whatever follows. 

“Even with the constitutional constraints that the government will have from Friday, the country has to continue working”, he clarified today.

Details on plans and projects that cannot be carried through, will be “fully prepared” so that the new government can pick up from where the old one left off (the PM mentioned  political decisions over the new Lisbon airport; high speed rail links; Portugal 2030, etc., etc.)

But then there is this spat about a logo… What is it all about?

The symbol – the work of designer Eduardo Aires, a lecturer at Porto University’s Faculty of Fine Art – has reduced the intricacies of the Portuguese flag to two rectangles and a large yellow circle.

Gone are the castles wrestled back from the Moors; the traditional armillary sphere, the shield and depictions of ‘the wounds of Christ’. Instead it’s a clean, modern rectangle containing rectangles and a circle – and if PSD social democrats do win the elections on March 10, it will have a very short lifespan on institutional letterheadings.

“Enough of plastic politics!” PSD party leader Luís Montenegro has said. “With my government, we shall stop using this symbol. In our project we will not be dispensing with Portugal’s historical references and identity for an idea of sophistication”.

CHEGA leader André Ventura has gone further, describing the logo as “a mockery of our history. What is the problem with castles?”, he questioned. “What is wrong with the reference to the wounds of Christ? They are our Christian matrix”.

And Nuno Melo, leader of CDS/PP (desperate to make a comeback after months without a seat in parliament), has gone perhaps further, suggesting the symbol is both “ridiculous” and “criminal”.

António Nogueira Leite, a former heavyweight within the PSD party, has ventured the whole thing looks like Portugal has taken on the flag of Italy and put “a fried egg in the middle of it…”

Adding to this sense of indignation are petitions which have already gathered more than 22,000 signatures, and which refer to the two years in jail that anyone can expect who brings shame on the Republic – the nation’s flag or hymn – through disrespect of sovereign emblems.

Not surprisingly, “the government has guaranteed that this is not a case of redesigning the national flag established by the revolution of October 5, 1910”, writes Correio da Manhã.

According to an official source, it is a “a new symbol that responds effectively to new contexts determined by the sophistication of dynamic digital communication and a heightened ecological awareness”.

There is more where that came from, adds CM: “The new image shows itself to be inclusive, plural and secular, stresses the government”.

The previous logo, with the national emblems intact

Source material: CM