Sunday, July 26, 2009

Coalition Politics Portuguese Style: A Case in Point

by Mike Tolochko

As most people know, the Portuguese Communist Party is a strong and powerful Marxist – Leninist Party. It has historically taken very robust positions on all of the issues of the international working class movement.

What is not known is that it has an equally aggressive mass electoral policy.

Peniche, For Example

In an earlier Blog, I referred to the United Democratic Coalition –CDU where the PCP along with the Greens and many independent work together. In these coalitions, the final outcomes in terms of leadership, when they win, are not always predetermined.

For example, in the historic town of Peniche with a population of 16,000 people, the Socialist Party has held the Mayor position for decades. Peniche is where the fascist/dictatorship of Salazar jailed members of the Communist Party and others. [It is the 35 anniversary of April 25, 1974 when the dictatorship was overthrown; and 75 years since that prison was built.]


Four years ago, the CDU for that town put forward candidates for the:

Town Council
Municipal Assembly/Parliament
Local Boroughs

The CDU was and is made up of the CPC, the Greens and many independents. They all agreed, however, to the Platform of the CPC. The program had simple things like: street lights; taking care of green and garden areas; playgrounds; social support systems and local school development.

The Town Council has 11 members and the CDU won over 50% of the votes. They also won the Assembly and most of the boroughs.

This made Peniche a "Communist Town." As reported earlier, there are 308 towns in Portugal and the PCP heads up 33 of them.

The different thing about Peniche is that the Mayor of the town is not a member of the PCP; which is fine with everyone. Of course, he ran on the PCP platform.
Now that is non-sectarianism at its best.

Note: In Portugal, there are about 60,000 members of the PCP with about one-third being elected to government positions, or about 20,000 PCP serving the public.