Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

'Monarchists' help rule republican Portugal

The only republic in Europe where "monarchists" share power is Portugal. When Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsemao formed his center-right government, he gave the Popular Monarchist Party (PPM) a single seat in his 18 -man Cabinet.

But the monarchists had been waiting for this moment ever since the last king of Portugal, Manuel II, was forced into exile and a republic was proclaimed in Lisbon on Oct. 5, 1910.

About these ads

The last thing the PPM is worried about is putting a king on the throne. There simply is not enough popular support for the monarchist cause to even dream of a restoration.

The PPM relies more on its appeal as a "green party" than on its monarchism to draw votes. It is, in fact, far more concerned with ecology than dynastic succession.

The explains why the PPM minister, Augusto Ferreira do Amaral, was given a specially created portfolio with control over environmental matters, sports, youth, and the news media.

Many right-wingers were astonished when the late Prime Minister Francisco Sa Carneiro insisted on including the PPM at the setting up of the Democratic Alliance, the coalition he first led to victory in the December 1979 general elections.

In Portugal's peculiar system of proportional representation, however, a few votes can make all the difference, and the party has six deputies in parliament.

Despite its lack of popular support, the PPM has far more trained cadres than many larger parties. The new prime minister has been forced to turn to them, and the price he has paid is a "ministry for the qual ity of life."

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.