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Friday Briefing: How to watch the campaign's final week like a PRO

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. As the campaign enters its final week, here are five insights to help you decode the coming jumble.

“Creole Garden” by Mónica de Miranda 2024

POLITICS

The campaign officially began on Sunday with the latest poll, revealed today, giving a 1% edge to right-wing AD. Far-right CHEGA surges to 17% suggesting that neither the moderate right, nor the left will be able to form a majority (More).


After participating in a peace summit in Paris, outgoing PM Antonio Costa rejected sending NATO troops to Ukraine. He got support from disparate quarters: the leaders of the AD, the Liberals and the Communists (More).


SOCIETY

The National Education Council’s annual State of Education report revealed that 53% of school teachers were 50 years old or over in 2022, casting light on the teacher shortage deluge facing Portugal in coming years (More).


In Portugal’s first-ever Michelin gala, Porto restaurant Antiqvvm won a second Michelin star. Four restaurants received their first star, bringing the total of establishments with one star in Portugal up to 31 (More).


ECONOMICS

The inflation slowed down to 2.1% in February, largely thanks to a drop in the prices of fresh foods from 3.1% in January (when the 0% VAT on essential food items ended) to 0.8% this month (More).


Airbnb generated over €63 million in tourist taxes in Lisbon (€44,2 million) and Porto (€19,1 million) since entering into the voluntary tax collection agreement with both city councils (More).


CULTURE AND SPORTS

Portuguese architects blasted the choice of Kengo Kuma to design the national pavilion at the Osaka’s Expo 2025. The Architects' Association regreted the missed opportunity to give visibility to Portuguese architecture (More).


“Greenhouse”, a collective project by visual artist Mónica de Miranda, activist Sónia Vaz Borges, and choreographer Vânia Gala, will represent Portugal at the 2024 Venice Biennale (More).


IN FOCUS

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE ELECTIONS
  1. Voting will start this Sunday Voters registered in Portugal and who have registered for it can exercise their right to vote already this Sunday, a full week before the official date of the elections. There will be early voting stations in every town. According to the Election Commission, on Thursday morning, already 300,000 voters had signed up for early voting.

  2. Don’t trust the polls Remember the Portuguese elections in 2022? The Spanish elections last summer? Trump? Brexit? Yes, the pollsters were wrong. This turn they might find it even harden to predict the elections’ outcome because a broad section of the electorate - almost 20% according to some polls - has yet to decide their vote. So, nothing is off the table, and yes, that means CHEGA winning too.

  3. Watch the streets Now that the TV debates are over, and the worst of COVID is behind us, the candidates have embraced the street to canvass voters. This provides for some picaresque moments. Already this week, climate activists hurled green paint over AD leader Luís Montenegro as he visited Lisbon’s Tourism Fair. Similar protests are likely to hit candidates in the coming week - and they may, in fact, cherish it: Mário Soares famously won the 1986 Presidential election after being slapped in the face on the campaign trail.

  4. Pick up the (recent) history books So far, the campaign has been more about the past than the future, with little to no talk about this issues that concern the daily life of the Portuguese: above all, health, education, housing, wages and poverty. The AD has sought to highlight the Socialists’ scandals and “mismanagement” of the country. In turn, the Socialists have reminded voters of the economic hardships endured during the last PSD Government.

  5. There will be mud With CHEGA surging in the polls, the AD seems to have concluded that its best bet at winning the elections lies in capturing disaffected voters. This week, former PM Pedro Passos Coelho showed up in a rally in Algarve, a region where CHEGA seems likely to gain a foothold, and linked migration and insecurity (though there is no quantitative basis for this claim). Another senior conservative politician in the AD suggested overturning the 2007 laws that liberalized abortion. It is unclear how this startegy will impact the election, but for now it seems certain to drag the Socialists into the mud.

TIPS OF THE WEEK

Lisbon

Guided Tour - The best of Calouste Gulbenkian Museum



Calouste Gulbenkian was an Armenian businessman, art collector and philanthropist who chose Lisbon to spend his final years and to display his collection. Meet the man behind the collector, his taste, and the period in which he lived, through the stories of how he bought the most emblematic pieces in the collection. This English-language tour begins with the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, continuing through the Middle East and Far East, then crossing Europe, from the decorative arts of the 18th century to the artists who most fascinated him: Rembrandt, Turner and his friend, René Lalique.


Play 24



The 11th edition of the festival brings several films to Cinema São Jorge, including feature films and short animation films, real images and documentaries; a cineconcert with Legendary Tiger Man, where the musician will accompany live two short films by Charley Bowers; workshops for children and families; the 2nd edition of the Laboratory Competition, a support to encourage the writing of audiovisual projects for children, and many new features that you can discover on the official website.


Porto

28th Camelia Exhibition



For the second year running, Porto will host a major camelia exhibition on March 2-3 at Parque de São Roque. The venue is also home to a range of activities designed for the whole family, where the flower is the focal point for the different music, travelling entertainment, circus and workshops for kids. Of particular note is the opening of the exhibition, which takes place on Saturday 2 March at 2pm and will, as usual, include an awards ceremony for the Best Camellia of Portuguese Origin, the Best Camellia and the Best Table Ornamentation and Floral Arrangement.


Caput Mortuum by Santiago Ydáñez



Born in 1967 in Jaén, Spain, Santiago Ydáñez has been a prolific figure for painting over the past two decades, with international recognition during the ABC-Prize for Painting and the 33rd BMW Painting Prize. With exhibitions at prestigious institutions such as the CAC Málaga, the Whitebox Art Center in Beijing, or the Künstlerhaus Bethanian in Berlin, Santiago Ydáñez’s impressive career reaches another milestone with this exhibition at Galeria Fernando Santos dedicated to the brutal universe of boxing. Until March 2, entrance is free.


Elsewhere

The snow at Serra da Estrela



Before the winter ends, take one last chance to see the snow in Portugal. According to meteorologists, the snow in the Serra da Estrela is “sure bet” this weekend: “it will snow from late afternoon on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday in the highest parts of the Serra da Estrela. At times it may snow at altitudes of around 1,000 metres, but accumulation should only occur above 1,200 metres.” On Saturday and Sunday, there will be excelent weather conditions to visit Serra da Estrela.


The Wind Whistling in the Cranes



Based on a novel by award-winning Portuguese author Lídia Jorge, “The Wind Whistling in the Cranes” (“O Vento Assobiando nas Gruas”) is a coming-of-age story about a girl who falls in love with a member of a family very different from her own. Set in southern Portugal, where a colonial past still sends ripples and rifts through 1990s society, it follows the girl as she discovers sex, love, marriage, and different ways of living. From this Thursday onward in cinemas across the country.


Óbidos International Chocolate Festival



The Óbidos International Chocolate Festival had its first edition in 2002 and, since then, it has been held annually in Vila de Óbidos. It has been showing (almost) all the potential that cocoa molecules allow, from the sweetest to the purest, also featuring famous chocolate sculptures, renowned chefs, show cooking and many other entertainments. This year, from March 1-17, the festival will showcase important elements in the definition of “Portugality”.

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