A study ahead of the elections in two days time shows that only one out of two people in the street “trust” the line-up of party leaders.
Put another way – as reports have indeed interpreted the finding – 50% of the country don’t believe them/ don’t trust them/ essentially think they’d sell their own grandmothers if it suited their political ambitions.
The conclusion came from a wider inquiry published by the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR).
Says the ‘O Minho’ online, 64% of those queried “consider” corruption to remain “a significant problem” in Portugal.
The study involved 1000 Portuguese and was undertaken last month – precisely to see how people felt as national elections drew near.
O Minho stresses the exercise followed a Council of Europe report on corruption within the EU that showed Portugal “was the country that least complied with European recommendations in this regard”.
Said ECHR investigators Susi Dennison and Lívia Franco: “The concerns of Portuguese people relate most likely to the trial underway of José Sócrates, Portugal’s prime minister between 2005-2011 who is accused of corruption and money-laundering”.
But nationals may well be influenced by “smaller cases of corruption” – “involving politicians, public businesses and administrators”.
The study suggests ‘the man in the street’ believes the government to be “reluctant to tackle high-level corruption” – preferring instead to focus on much smaller matters.
It is this point, says O Minho, that elicited the answers when it came to trust in Portugal’s political leaders.
In the wider sphere however, Portuguese people appear “convinced” that greater European integration will protect citizens from the “excesses and/ or failings of their own governments”.
Irrespective of the election results, the study suggests the next government will maintain a policy of multilateralism – and says this could even be Portugal’s ‘motto’ when it assumes the EU presidency in 2021.
Regarding sentiments over Brexit, the inquiry showed that 30% of those queried believe that Portugal “should strengthen its relationship with London and Brussels” post-Brexit (that is, if the post-Brexit era ever arrives)…