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Parliament votes to celebrate controversial November 25 date

On Tuesday, the Portuguese Parliament split clearly into right- and left-wings over a resolution proposing the annual commeration of November 25, 1975 at the Assembly of the Republic - effectively, giving it the same status as that of April 25, 1974.

In the end, a right-wing coalition joining the ruling AD, the liberals (IL) and far-right Chega approved the resolution.

The voting involved nearly two hours of heated debates about the historical significance of 25 November 1975, mainly pitting CDS, PSD and Chega against the PCP and Left Bloc.

Conservative parlamentarian Paulo Núncio, presented the resolution, speaking of the defeat of the extreme left and of the Revolutionary Process in Progress (PREC), avoiding "a path towards totalitarianism" in Portugal.

The president of the Chega bench, Pedro Pinto, accused the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) of having outlawed the PDC (Christian Democracy Party) and of having sought to "establish a Soviet dictatorship, invaded estates and held farmers' heads at gunpoint".

With a diametrically opposed view, PCP deputy António Filipe accused the parliamentary right of trying to rewrite history and "whitewash" the Estado Novo regime, noting that land reform continued after 25 November and that the Constitution itself was approved by the communists in April 1976, "which the CDS opposed".

António Filipe assumed that, from his perspective, 25 November 1975 paved the way for "a counter-revolutionary process", but stressed that his party's aim was to "prevent civil war" in Portugal and that the Communists continued to be the target of political violence even in democracy, recalling "bombings" and acts of destruction at the PCP's headquarters.

Why is November 25, 1975, such a controversial date?

The failed coup of November 25, 1975, in Portugal was a significant event during the turbulent period following the Carnation Revolution of April 1974, which ended decades of authoritarian rule under the Estado Novo regime.

The coup attempt was orchestrated by radical left-wing military officers who opposed the moderate path of democratization and the influence of Western-aligned factions within the Armed Forces Movement (MFA).

Their aim was to shift Portugal towards a more socialist-oriented government.

However, the coup was swiftly countered by loyalist forces, leading to the arrest of key conspirators and the consolidation of the moderate leadership under figures like President Francisco da Costa Gomes and Prime Minister Vasco Gonçalves.

Politically, the significance of the failed coup resonates in contemporary Portugal as it marked a turning point that solidified the country's commitment to a democratic path.

The defeat of the radical elements ensured that the revolution would not descend into civil conflict or extreme ideological polarization.

Instead, Portugal transitioned to a stable democratic regime, joining the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1986, which further anchored its democratic institutions and economic modernization.

The events of November 25, 1975, are remembered as a crucial moment when the nation's democratic future was safeguarded, emphasizing the importance of political stability and moderation in Portuguese political culture today.

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