PORTUGAL-POLITICS-VOTE-PARTIESAndre Ventura, leader of the far-right party CHEGA, shakes hands with young supporters during a rally in Lisbon's Graca neighborhood on February 20, 2024. Chega has grown rapidly since its creation in 2019 when it won a single seat in parliament -- the far-right's first seat since a revolution in 1974 toppled Portugal's decades-long rightist dictatorship. And as in other European nations where the far-right has also gained ground, Chega is growing faster among youths than older people. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

The early elections on Sunday March 10 are being held in an unprecedented context for a country plagued by poverty, where the far right is making a meteoric rise, and just a few days before the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution.

“Fortunately, there’s a new party that wants to change all that.” This forty-something, who runs a grocery café on the edge of Lisbon’s Graça and Mouraria districts, makes his point in the blink of an eye. “The new party” is the ultra-right Chega (“Enough”), the third-largest parliamentary force, which polls predict will double or even triple its vote in the parliamentary elections on Sunday March 10. ” All that” is a jumble of dissatisfactions that feed a dull anger: in bulk, those Europeans (especially French, according to him) who “with their money have dislodged me from my store and my apartment”; “my country, Portugal, which is a shadow of its former self, poor, humiliated, from where young graduates are emigrating”; “all those corrupt politicians who only think of making money…” His list is long, fed to satiety by his wife. His hope becomes clearer with names: Orbán, Meloni, Le Pen, Wilders. “And now we have André! I hope he kicks ass this weekend!”

André Ventura, 41, a former seminarian turned university teacher, tax inspector, soccer commentator (Benfica fan) and TV crime commentator, is today the man who channels the frustrations of a section of society p

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