Left Bloc

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Left Bloc
Bloco de Esquerda
Coordinators Catarina Martins
João Semedo
Founded 24 March 1999
Headquarters Rua da Palma, 268
1100-394 Lisbon
Newspaper Esquerda
Membership  (2009) 6,830 [1]
Ideology Socialism,[2]
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation None
European affiliation Party of the European Left
European Anticapitalist Left
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red
Local Government
8 / 2,086
Regional Parliaments
1 / 104
Assembly of the Republic
8 / 230
European Parliament
2 / 21
Politics of Portugal
Political parties

The Left Bloc (Portuguese: Bloco de Esquerda, pronounced: [ˈblɔku dɨ (ɨ)ʃˈkeɾdɐ]), sometimes translated as Leftist Bloc or Left-wing Bloc, is a Portuguese left-wing political party 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 include Fernando Rosas, Francisco Louçã, and the late Miguel Portas (brother of right-wing leader Paulo Portas).

Formation and history[edit]

The Left Bloc (B.E.) is supported by independents and a number of left-wing political groups: the People's Democratic Union (União Democrática Popular, UDP), Revolutionary Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Revolucionário, PSR (ex-LCI)), and Politics XXI (Política XXI, PXXI). This party has from the beginning a full party status, yet the constituent groups have maintained their existence as political associations and 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 this rose to 6.5% which won them 8 MPs. They also have had 3 MEPs in the European Parliament since the European Elections of 2009 (10.73%, surpassing for the first time the CDU platform, formed by the Greens and the Portuguese Communist Party) and many local councillors. This currently makes them Portugal's 5th largest party. The bloc is a founding member of the European Anticapitalist Left and participates in the Party of the European Left.

The Bloc proposed Portugal’s first law on domestic violence, which was 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. Later, in 2011, the BE lost nearly half of its popular support to obtain only 5.17% of the vote, electing 8 deputies, a defeat generally attributed to the partial support sections of the party appeared to offer the Socialist government while the latter pursued an austerity programme in response to the financial crisis[citation needed].

More than half of Left Bloc's deputies are female.

Electoral results[edit]

Assembly of the Republic[edit]

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
Increase 1
2005 364,971 6.4 (#5)
8 / 230
Increase 5
2009 557,306 9.8 (#4)
16 / 230
Increase 8
2011 288,923 5.2 (#5)
8 / 230
Decrease 8

European Parliament[edit]

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
Increase 1
2009 382,667 10.72 (#3)
3 / 22
2 / 22
Increase 2
Decrease 1
Two seats since 2011 after Rui Tavares departure.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bloco de Esquerda comemora décimo aniversário", Público (newspaper), 28 February 2009, retrieved 21 August 2013 
  2. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram, "Portugal", Parties and Elections in Europe, retrieved 23 October 2012 
  3. ^ http://www.parties-and-elections.eu/portugal.html
  4. ^ Wall, Derek (2010), The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement, Pluto Press, p. 97 
  5. ^ Freire, André (2006), "The Party System of Portugal", Die Parteiensysteme Westeuropas (VS Verlag): 373 
  6. ^ "Rui Tavares rompe com o Bloco de Esquerda", Expresso, 21 June 2011 

External links[edit]