Political Discontentment in Portugal Post-Troika: Risks and Opportunities
The 2008 crisis has revealed, in Portugal, a political culture characterised by deeply dissatisfied and sceptical democrats, who have made the recourse to “exit” strategies of the political system (through electoral abstention) the prime “punishing” answer to the political class’s austerity policies. This is a very different attitude from the “critical citizens” who are characterised by a more demanding and challenging attitude towards the status quo through protest and vote in new radical and populist parties, as is happening in other peripheral European countries. This chapter seeks to answer some of the following questions: Faced with the rapid resurgence of the narratives of Southern European “exceptionalism”, how was the Portuguese democracy able, or not able to weather the legitimacy crisis? To what extent do the diffuse and specific types of support for the political system remain independent of each other in these hard times? What changes have occurred in the evolution of these two types of political support during this period? Are there signs that the economic crisis created transitory (pendulum effects) or lasting and stronger effects (catalyst effects) in the legitimacy of the political system in the citizens’ eyes?
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