What's the Political Situation Like in Lisbon?

BY Alex Couto

What's the Political Situation Like in Lisbon?
Photography by Cristiana Morais


Portugal is a modern democracy, with all the political parties and corruption scandals that come with it. It’s one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, but travellers may not notice at all. Well, you might suspect that two or three modern buildings shouldn’t have been built so close to the river, but that’s about it.

Portugal has a long history of workers rights, even though they are being erased on the daily and unions are becoming politicised, according to their influences. With that being said, don’t be surprised if you happen to encounter a march or an organised protest. They’re usually smaller than they should be.

Portugal still has racism issues, accentuated by the fact that a large portion of the population deny it. The George Floyd protests stretched to Portugal and prompted a huge debate about race, furthered by the death of actor Bruno Candé at the hands of a former colonial-combatant. The dialogue about Portuguese slavery practices still haunts an otherwise chill country and the blatant racism from the rising hard-right doesn’t help.

There is a big chance that you may encounter communist symbolism, communication materials and painted murals. The communist party was an active element in fighting the fascist regime that lasted for 40 years, and it’s now a party integrated in Portuguese democracy. Since it’s a trigger for a lot of travellers, we’ll just leave it at that. There is a recent ill-spirit from the fact that the communist party decided not to support Ukraine, which prompted discussion about whether they were in fact supporting Russia; they claim impartiality, which is also a form of choosing sides.