Social Democrat Party changes historical “rentrée” party place: what does this mean?
The Social Democrat Party (PSD), since after the Carnation Revolution in the Seventies, has always held a political “rentrée” rally in the Algarve. The event is known as “the Pontal party”, a reference to the first of several places where it has occurred: the pine forest of Pontal, near Faro, in a picnic style typical of the seventies. Since then, in spite of changing places, PSD and the media kept calling it by this name.
The political rentrée
The use of the French word is a reminiscence of the time when the French language was still a cultural influence throughout Europe and especially in Portugal. After the general pause for vacation in August (when pretty much everything stops), the “re-entrance” is a way for “catching up” with political affairs and prepare the incoming battles. This year was no different and the PSD leader, Rui Rio, used it both to attack the Socialists government and to reassure his leadership, in a time when he faces high internal criticism.
Adaptation to times
Political rallies don’t have quite the same popularity they used to have. There’s a widespread mistrust about politicians and politics in general which takes people of events likes these.
What seems odd and interesting about Portugal is that this doesn’t necessarily reflect a scenario of political instability; people don’t like current political parties’ representatives, but they don’t seem convinced to change them for new or fringe parties. After all, the most important new party arriving, Aliança, is just a break-up from PSD led by a former prime-minister – hardly something new like we’ve been witnessing in Italy and other countries.
Anyway, for fears of having few people while having the celebration in Quarteira as they used to recently, PSD took the “Pontal” to the historic village of Querença, in the Barrocal area – which could be seen as a prize to the effort of requalification and tourist attraction that this tiny village as experienced throughout the last decade. Moreover, by doing this, the PSD avoided carrying militants from other parts of the country to make the event appear bigger – which the Socialists recently did, in their own “rentrée” event, in Northern Portugal.