Political parties

   Portugal's political party system began only in the 19th century, and the first published, distinct political party program appeared about 1843. Under the constitutional monarchy (1834-1910), a number of political groupings or factions took the name of a political figure or soldier or, more commonly until the second half of the century, the name of the particular constitution they supported. For example, some were called "Septembrists," after the group that supported the 1836 (September) Revolution and the 1822 Constitution. Others described themselves as "Chartists" after King Pedro IV's 1826 Charter (Carta). From the Regeneration to the fall of the monarchy in 1910, the leading political parties were the Regenerators and the Progressists (or Historicals). During the first parliamentary republic (1910-26), the leading political parties were the Portuguese Republican Party or "The Democrats," the Evolutionists, the Unionists, various monarchist factions, the Liberals, and the Nationalists. Small leftist parties were also established or reestablished after the collapse of President Sidónio Pais's New Republic (1917-18), the Socialist Party (PS) and the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP).
   Under the Estado Novo dictatorship (1926-74), all political parties and civic associations (such as the Masons) were banned in 1935, and the only legitimate political movement allowed was the regime's creature, the União Nacional (1930-74). Various oppositionist parties and factions began to participate in the rigged elections of the Estado Novo, beginning with the municipal elections of 1942 and continuing with general elections for president of the republic or the National Assembly (legislature) in 1945, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1961, 1969, 1972, etc. Among these parties were elements of the Communist Party, remnants of the old Portuguese Republican Party elite and of the old Socialist Party (originally founded in 1875), various workers' groups, and special electoral committees allowed by the regime to campaign during brief preelectoral exercises.
   The Revolution of 25 April 1974 swept away the regime's institutions and ushered in a flood of new political groups. During 1974 and 1975, about 60 new political parties and factions sprung up, but the PCP remained the senior, experienced political party. During the period of fallout and adjustment to the new pluralist, multiparty system of democracy (1974-85), four main political parties became the principal ones and garnered the largest percentage of votes in the many general and municipal elections held between the first free election of 25 April 1975, and the general election of 1985. These parties were the PCP, the PS, the Social Democrat Party (PSD), and the Social Democratic Center Party (CDS) or "Christian Democrats." Until 1985-87, the socialists were ahead in votes, but the social democrats were victorious, with clear majorities in 1987 and 1991. In the general elections of 1995 and 1999, the PS returned to power in the legislature, and in the presidential elections of 1996 and 2001, the victor was the socialist leader Jorge Sampaio. The PSD replaced the socialists in power in the 2002 general election.
   See also Left Bloc.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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