Portugal in the 1990’s

By | December 25, 2021

The bloodless ‘carnation revolution’ of 1974, putting an end to a dictatorship that lasted forty years, which had kept the country in a condition of backwardness and international isolation, launched a complex and conflicting process of economic and political modernization in Portugal on which the contemporary establishment of a different European order had a decisive influence. Indeed, starting from the 1980s, entry into Europe represented the priority objective of the governments and the main political forces of the country. Despite the difficulties and the persistent presence of large areas of backwardness, the Portugal was admitted to the EEC in January 1986, ratified the Maastricht Treaty in December 1992,1999 they joined the European Monetary Union. The pro-European choice was intertwined with the other process that has characterized the political life of Fr in the last two decades: the radical, albeit contrasted, rethinking of the socialist principles that had inspired the ‘carnation revolution’. In economic policy, in fact, starting from the Eighties, we witnessed the progressive reprivatization of nationalized basic industries, the drastic downsizing of public spending and welfare policies, dissolving in a moderate sense the conflicts that had opened up from the beginning even within the same forces. of left. A similar process of revisiting affected the constitutional sphere: the abolition of the Council of the Revolution,1988, the elimination of any reference to socialism from the Constitution represented the main stages of a progressive downsizing of the military control power, who had been the architects of the ‘revolution’.

The clear political dominance of the Social Democratic Party (PSD, Partido Social Democrata) lasted until the elections for the European Parliament which were held in June 1994. On that occasion the Socialists, who until 1991 had abandoned the previously practiced line of collaboration with the Social Democrats, overcame their opponents by winning 10 of the 25 seats available in Strasbourg, while 9 went to the PDS.. The unpopular choices of the Social Democratic government, engaged in a rigid policy of economic restructuring, and the involvement of some of its exponents in episodes of corruption, had had a significant weight in the socialist victory, which was even more clear in the general elections of October 1995, to which the Socialist Party (PS, Partido Socialista) presented itself with a program that provided for an increase in public funding for schools and health and greater integration with the European Union, obtaining 39, 4 % of the votes and 112 seats, against 34 % of the votes and 88seats of the PSD. The populist right of the People’s Party (PP, Partido Popular, new name assumed by the Social Democratic Center) obtained 15 seats, as many as were won by the Democratic Coalition, the alliance of left parties including the Communist Party. A. Guterres, leader of the Socialist Party since February 1992, formed a single-color minority government. The broad consensus that the socialists gathered in the country was confirmed in the presidential elections in January 1996, won by J. Sampaio already socialist mayor of Lisbon, from the left of the party, which won the 53, 9 % of the votes against 46, 1% which went to his social democratic opponent A. Cavaco Silva. For Portugal 1998, please check constructmaterials.com.

In the aftermath of their electoral victory, the Socialists took a reforming action which developed in various directions and which was also favored by an improvement in the economic situation. At the beginning of 1996, the government, trade union and employers reached an agreement under which a 5 % increase in the minimum wage and a gradual reduction of working hours, set at a maximum of 40%, was established.weekly hours. In the summer of the same year Guterres announced his project of institutional reforms which provided for the reduction of the number of parliamentarians, the opening of electoral lists to personalities independent of the parties to limit the monopoly of the latter and the expansion of the subjects admitted to the verification. referendum. The reforms were launched in 1997 in accordance with the opposition who also gave their assent to a gradual transformation of the armed forces into a professional army. One of the most qualifying points of the government program was the administrative decentralization project, presented by the socialists already during the 1995 electoral campaign.. It provided for the establishment of eight regions with broad powers, on the model of the autonomous communities of Madeira and the Azores, and was part of a more general political orientation aimed at overcoming regional imbalances. The proposal, submitted for popular approval through a referendum held in November 1998, was rejected by the right-wing propaganda-sensitive electorate, opposed to the project, all centered on issues of national unity. Consent to government policy did not, however, fail. In the legislative elections of Oct. 1999 the PS in fact obtained 44 % of the votes and 115 seats, against 32.3 % of the votes and 81seats of the PSD; Guterres was re-elected prime minister in November.

On the international level, while ties with European partners strengthened, relations with Indonesia continued to remain tense, due to the unresolved question of East Timor, a Portuguese colony that became independent in 1975. In fact, the Fr had not recognized the violent annexation carried out by the Indonesian government in 1976 and had interrupted diplomatic relations with the latter. The talks between the two countries, promoted by the UN in the early 1980s, continued with alternating phases during the 1990s and only in the spring of 1999 was an agreement reached for the holding of a referendum on the independence of East Timor, held in August 1999. The 20 December1999 the territory of Macao (see in this Appendix), formerly a Portuguese overseas province, was returned to Chinese sovereignty.

Portugal in the 1990's