CHEGA! A sceptre of the mainstream Portuguese parties’ disaggregation or a spectre of fascism?

By Carlos Morgado Braz, University of South Wales | June 7, 2023

Over the past four decades, Portuguese voters have imprinted a solid resistance to the emergence of far-right parties in the political setting. However, this time ended in the 2019 legislative elections when the CHEGA, a self-located party on the far-right spectrum, with a posture assumed as anti-system and unconcerned with the accusations of racism and hate exhilaration, elected André Ventura to the national parliament. Moreover, in the 2021 presidential elections, he got 497,746 votes, a scant point to be the second most-voted candidate. The 2022 legislative elections placed CHEGA as the third most-voted party, and the number of members in parliament has climbed to twelve. This article critically examines the political constraints and opportunities for the rise of the CHEGA party in the Portuguese political setting. It argues that CHEGA emerges from the disintegration of centre-moderate right parties and the interruption of the emancipatory function of the leftist parties coupled with a ubiquitous traditional media landscape, which has proved favourable to the CHEGA propensity towards the Portuguese electorate and without scrutinise its narratives opposing the dominant ruling system. Beyond news media and cumulatively, social networks have also increased party exposure by recruiting affiliates and strengthening support bases.

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