The Circus in Parliament
When André Ventura arrived at Parliament, in 2019, a new dilemma opened up in the public space. To speak or not to speak, debate or reduce the phenomenon to its true expression of a single deputy, there were many politicians, political scientists and commentators divided as to the appropriate way to deal with the arrival of the extreme right in the house of democracy. With the current bench of 12 elements, Chega has overcome this doubt. Gained intervention space, (literal) airtime, ability to make noise.
It has also become a party from which the PSD cannot distance itself. Even when, as the parliamentary leader did these days in an interview, he tries to shake off the alleged “speculation”. About agreements, Joaquim Miranda Sarmento was unable to go beyond “we don’t even know if it will happen”. Because the PSD knows that, in the current configuration of forces, it will not be able to rise to power by dispensing with Chega.
In addition to finding fertile ground for its populist discourse in the cases that abound in the governing arc parties, Chega is able to use all tools and more on the political stage. In the most theatrical sense of the term, how was the scene with the posters with a photograph of Catarina Martins held after the vote against the waiver of immunity for the bloquista leader. Or how is the attempt to shift a fight that is political to the criminal plan.
No wonder the President of the Republic continues to be cautious about the scenario of early elections and warn of the lack of clear alternatives. Because the question is exactly that: we are not seeing solid, credible and much less exciting alternatives that point out to the Portuguese new and constructive ways of being in politics. The Parliament was once the space where outstanding figures of our democracy dreamed and built the country. Today it hosts too many deputies, who do not respect democratic values or the Assembly itself. This is not their problem, it’s ours. To speak or not to speak is no longer an issue: informed debate is essential for us to collectively envision which Parliament and which democracy we want.