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Left Bloc

Left Bloc
Bloco de Esquerda
Speaker of the Permanent Commission Catarina Martins[1]
Founded 24 March 1999
Merger of People's Democratic Union,[2]
Revolutionary Socialist Party,[2]
Politics XXI[2]
Headquarters Rua da Palma, 268
1100-394 Lisbon
Newspaper Esquerda
Membership  (2009) 6,830[3]
Ideology Democratic socialism[4]
Political position [10]
International affiliation None
European affiliation Party of the European Left,[11]
European Anti-Capitalist Left
European Parliament group European United Left/Nordic Green Left[12]
Colours      Red
Assembly of the Republic
19 / 230
European Parliament
1 / 21
Regional Parliaments
3 / 104
Local Government
8 / 2,086
Politics of Portugal
Political parties

The Left Bloc (Portuguese: Bloco de Esquerda, pronounced: ), sometimes translated as Leftist Bloc or Left-wing Bloc, is a left-wing political party in Portugal founded in 1999. It is sometimes abbreviated to B.E. (punctuated), but its name is usually said in full or colloquially abbreviated as O Bloco. Notable members have included Fernando Rosas, Francisco Louçã, and Miguel Portas (brother of CDS–PP leader Paulo Portas). Since 1 December 2014, the party has been headed by a six-member Permanent Commission whose speaker is Catarina Martins.[13]


  • Formation and history 1
  • Electoral results 2
    • Assembly of the Republic 2.1
    • European Parliament 2.2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Formation and history

The Left Bloc (B.E.) was formed in March 1999 by the merger of the People's Democratic Union (União Democrática Popular, UDP, communist: Marxist), Revolutionary Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Revolucionário, PSR [ex-LCI], Trotskyist Mandelist), and Politics XXI (Política XXI, PXXI, democratic socialist).[2] B.E. has had full party status since its founding, yet the constituent groups have maintained their existence as individual political associations, and retain some levels of autonomy, leading to a loose structure.

In 1999 the B.E. polled 2% in the Portuguese legislative election. In 2002 this rose to 3%, and in the 2005 election B.E. rose to 6.5% which won them 8 MPs. They also won 3 MEPs in the European Parliament since the European Elections of 2009 (10.73%, surpassing the CDU's results for the first time in an election.) These results made them Portugal's 5th largest party. The Bloc is a founding member of the European Anti-Capitalist Left and participates in the Party of the European Left.

The Bloc proposed Portugal's first law on domestic violence, which was then passed in parliament through the support of the Portuguese Communist Party and the Socialist Party, as well as other important laws on civil rights and guarantees, including the protection of citizens from racist, xenophobic, and homophobic discrimination, support for same-sex marriage, laws for the protection of workers and anti-bullfighting legislation.

Its candidate, Francisco Louçã, received 288,224 votes (5.31%) in the Portuguese 2006 presidential elections.

At the national elections in 2009, the party obtained 9.81% of votes and 16 deputies in the 230-seat Assembly of the Republic. In a subsequent snap election, in 2011, the BE lost nearly half of its previous popular support, obtaining only 5.17% of the vote and 8 deputies. This defeat is generally attributed to the partial support certain sections of the party appeared to offer the unpopular Socialist government while the latter pursued an austerity programme in response to the financial crisis.

More than half of the Left Bloc's deputies after the 2011 legislative elections were female; after the 2015 legislative elections, the party's most successful election with 10.2% of the vote, more than half were male.

Electoral results

Assembly of the Republic

Election year # of overall
% of overall
# of overall
seats won
+/- Notes
1999 132,333 2.4 (#5)
2 / 230
2002 149,966 2.7 (#5)
3 / 230
2005 364,971 6.4 (#5)
8 / 230
2009 557,306 9.8 (#4)
16 / 230
2011 288,923 5.2 (#5)
8 / 230
2015 546,551 10.2 (#3)
19 / 230

European Parliament

Election year # of overall
% of overall
# of overall
seats won
+/- Notes
1999 61,920 1.79 (#5)
0 / 25
2004 167,313 4.91 (#5)
1 / 24
2009 382,667 10.72 (#3)
3 / 22
2 Two seats since 2011 after Rui Tavares' departure.[14]
2014 149,764 4.56 (#5)
1 / 21

See also


  1. ^ "Portal do Bloco de Esquerda - Mesa Nacional elege Comissão Política e Comissão Permanente". Portal do Bloco de Esquerda. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "European Social Survey 2012 - Appendix 3 (in English)" (PDF).  
  3. ^ "Bloco de Esquerda comemora décimo aniversário", Público (newspaper), 28 February 2009, retrieved 21 August 2013 
  4. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram, "Portugal", Parties and Elections in Europe, retrieved 23 October 2012 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Wall, Derek (2010), The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement, Pluto Press, p. 97 
  9. ^ Freire, André (2006), "The Party System of Portugal", Die Parteiensysteme Westeuropas (VS Verlag): 373 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "EL-Parties | European Left". Party of the European Left. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Bloco de Esquerda - GUE/NGL - Another Europe is possible". GUE/NGL. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Portal do Bloco de Esquerda - Mesa Nacional elege Comissão Política e Comissão Permanente". Portal do Bloco de Esquerda. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Rui Tavares rompe com o Bloco de Esquerda". Expresso. 21 June 2011. 

External links

  • Official Website (in Portuguese)
  • Portuguese Left Bloc has deep roots among workers, Socialist Worker, 12 March 2005
  • Website of the newspaper "Esquerda" (in Portuguese)
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