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The emergence of CHEGA in Portugal

The entrance of the extreme right party – It arrives in parliament after the 2019 legislative elections defies theories of the protest vote and the salience of immigration. First, Portugal reached very high levels of dissatisfaction with democracy in the first half of the decade of 2010 as a counterpoint to the increase in general citizen satisfaction after 2015.

Second, Eurobarometer data also reveal that the issue of immigration has never stood out among the main political priorities of the electorate, even after the supposed “asylum crisis” in Europe in 2015. Therefore, the growth of the extreme right can hardly be associated with these two factors.

Chega’s success must be associated with PSD’s realignment on economic issues under the leadership of Rui Rio; the adoption of a party model marked by its profound cultural xenophobia and the defence of neoliberal policies; and the presence of important allies in Portuguese society (other small parties, the media, and religious groups).

Text written by João Carvalho, Assistant Researcher at CIES-ISCTE, author of the monograph entitled: Impact of extreme Right Parties on Immigration Policy. Comparing Britain, France and Italy published by Rutledge in 2014 and 2016; as well as several publications on extreme right parties and immigration policy in international scientific journals.
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