Compared with other socialist parties in Western Europe, the trajectory of the Portuguese Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Português — PS) has been relatively successful during recent decades. From 1995 to 2011, the PS was in government for 13 out of 16 years with a single-party majority or minority cabinets. This protracted period of dominance was the consequence not only of the decline of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), but also of the ability of the socialist leadership to gain the center of the political spectrum and to build a heterogeneous majority based on middle-class support. Nevertheless, 2011 was an ‘annus horribilis’ for the socialists. First, a center-right candidate won the presidency for the first time in Portugal’s democratic history1. Second, the legislative elections held in June 2011 marked the return of PS to opposition. Consequently, the right was able to control both the presidency and the parliamentary majority, something that had never happened in the Portuguese democracy. A crucial factor in the socialist government’s punishment was certainly the disastrous economic performance, especially since 2008, culminating in Prime Minister José Sócrates requesting a bailout in March 2011. However, some structural weaknesses of the party must also be considered in order to explain the electoral debacle.
KeywordsParty Leader Party Member Austerity Measure Party Organization Direct Election
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Canas, V. (ed.) (2005) O Partido Socialista e a Democracia (Oeiras, Celta).Google Scholar
- Freire, A. (2005) ‘Geografia e sociologia do voto no Partido Socialista’ in Canas, V. (ed.) O Partido Socialista e a Democracia (Oeiras: Celta).Google Scholar
- Freire, A. and M. Meirinho Martins (2012) ‘Institutional Reform in Portugal: From the Perspective of Deputies and Voters Perspectives’, Pôle Sud 36(1), 107–25.Google Scholar
- Gunther, R. and J. R. Montero (2001) ‘The Anchors of Partisanship’, in P. N. Diamandouros and R. Gunther (eds) Parties, Politics, and Democracy in the New Southern Europe (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press).Google Scholar
- Jalali, C. (2007) Partidos e Democracia em Portugal 1974–2005 (Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais).Google Scholar
- Lisi, M. (2009) A arte de ser indispensável: Lider e organização no Partido socialista português (Lisbon, Imprensa de Ciências Sociais).Google Scholar
- Lisi, M. (2011) Os Partidos Políticos em Portugal: Continuidade e Transformação (Coimbra: Almedina).Google Scholar
- Lobo, M. Costa (2003) ‘A elite partidária em Portugal, 1976–2002’ in A.C. Pinto, and A. Freire (eds) Elites, Sociedade e Mudança Politica (Lisbon: Celta).Google Scholar
- Lobo, M. Costa, and P. Magalhães (2004) ‘The Portuguese Socialists and the Third Way’, in G. Bonoli and M. Powell (eds), Social Democratic Party Politics in Contemporary Europe (London and New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
- Lopes, F. Farelo (2004) Os Partidos Políticos (Oeiras: Celta).Google Scholar
- Lopes, F. Farelo (2005) ‘Perfil organizativo do Partido Socialista’, in V. Canas (ed.), O Partido Socialista e a Democracia (Oeiras: Celta).Google Scholar
- Magalhães, P. (2005), ‘Eleições, Partidos e Instituições Políticas no Portugal Democrático’, in A.C. Pinto (ed.), Portugal Contemporâneo (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote).Google Scholar
- Magone, J. (1999), ‘The Portuguese Socialist Party’ in R. Ladrech and P. Marlière (eds), Social Democratic Parties in the European Union (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
- Martins, M. Meirinho and M. F. Mendes Abrantes (2005) 30 anos de Democracia: Retrospectiva das eleições para a Assembleia da República (1975–2005) (Lisbon: CNE).Google Scholar
- Portugal Election Studies (2002–9) available through http://www.cep.ics.ul.pt/pages/en/initial-page.php, date accessed 11 December, 2012.
- PS (2003) Estatutos (Lisbon: Partido Socialista).Google Scholar
- Puhle, H.-J. (2001) ‘Mobilizers and Late Modernizers’ in P. N. Diamandouros and R. Gunther (eds), Parties, Politics, and Democracy in the New Southern Europe (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press).Google Scholar
- Sablosky, J. Antunes (1997) ‘The Portuguese Socialist Party’ in T.C. Bruneau (ed.) Political Parties and Democracy in Portugal: Organizations, Elections and Public Opinion (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).Google Scholar
- Sablosky, J. Antunes (2000) PS e a transição para a democracia (Lisbon: Editorial Noticias).Google Scholar
- Silva, A.S. (2005), ‘Os socialistas portugueses à entrada do século XXI: os militantes e a estrutura do PS’ in V. Canas (ed.), O Partido Socialista e a Democracia (Lisbon: Oeiras).Google Scholar