Christian Democratic Party

(CDS) / Centro Democrático E Social; renamed Popular Party (Partido Popular / PP)
   Established originally as the Centro Democático e Social (CDS) in May 1974, following the fall of the Estado Novo, the CDS was supported by conservatives inspired by Christian humanism and Catholic social doctrines. In the first democratic elections after the Revolution of 25 April 1974, which were held on 25 April 1975, the CDS won only a disappointing 7.6 percent of the vote for the Constituent Assembly. In the following general elections for the Assembly of the Republic, in April 1976, however, the party more than doubled its votes to 16 percent and surpassed the number of votes for the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP). In 1979-80, the Christian Democrats joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD) in a coalition called the Aliança Democrática (Democratic Alliance), a grouping that defeated the Socialist Party (PS) in the succeeding elections. The Christian Democrats remained in the background as the principal party rivals for power were the PS and the PSD.
   In the 1990s, the CDS altered its name to the Partido Popular (PP) and featured new leaders such as party chief Paulo Portas. While the democratic Portuguese system had become virtually a two-party dominant system by the 1980s and 1990s, the PP would have opportunities, depending upon circumstances, to share power in another coalition with one of the two larger, major parties, the PS or PSD. Indeed, parliamentary election results in March 2002 gave the party just such an opportunity, as the PP won 14 percent of the vote, thus surpassing for the first time since the 1975 elections the PCP, which was reduced to 12 percent of the vote. The PP thus gained new influence as the PSD, which won the largest number of seats in this election, was obliged to share governance with the PP in order to have a working majority in the legislature.
   Various right-wing lobbies and interest groups influenced the PP. In early 2000, the PP proposed a law to the Assembly of the Republic whereby former colonists, now mainly resident in Portugal, who had lost property in Portugal's former colonies of Angola and Mozambique, would be compensated by Portugal for material losses during decolonization. The PP leadership argued that the manner in which the governments after the Revolution of 25 April 1974 administered the disputed, controversial decolonization process in these territories made the government responsible for compensating Portuguese citizens for such losses. The PS-dominated government of then prime minister, Antônio Guterres, argued, however, that independent governments of those former colonies were responsible for any compensation due. Thus, Guterres declined to accept the proposed legislation. This proposal by the PP and others like it followed upon other proposed laws such as Law 20, 19 June 1997, put before the Assembly of the Republic, which was passed under the aegis of the PS. This law pledged to compensate opposition militants (the survivors) who had opposed the Estado Novo and had spent years in exile, as well as in clandestine activities. Such compensations would come in the form of pensions and social security benefits. Given the strength of conservative constituencies and former settlers' lobbies, it is likely that the Christian Democrats will introduce more such proposed laws in future parliamentary sessions.

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

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