Portuguese Leader Decimates Socialist Movement

A former trainee priest and soccer commentator has sent ripples through Portuguese politics by leading the third-largest party to Parliament and disrupting the country’s long-standing two-party system. Andre Ventura heads the Chega party, which won 48 seats in the 230-seat Parliament with policies including immigration control and the castration of pedophiles. The surprise elevation of Chega provides further evidence of Europe’s turn to the right amid a mass migration crisis and decades of left-wing dominance.

The victorious Social Democrat party, led by Luis Montenegro, will govern with a slim majority, but Ventura insists his rise indicates that the Portuguese people want change, and he has offered to compromise on some policies for a place in government. Mr. Montenegro has insisted, however, that he will not permit Chega to have a place at the state table.

The right-wing party joins several making political inroads across Europe, including the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) in Germany, led by Alice Weidel. The AfD’s rise threatens Germany’s established political order to such an extent that rival lawmakers have proposed banning the party.

Ms. Weidel responded to suggestions of prohibition by calling them “completely absurd.” She said discussions about banning AfD revealed the “anti-democratic attitude of those making these demands.”

In France, January polls found that Marine Le Pen had become the country’s most popular political figure. Le Pen has run for President three times, including in 2022, when she ended in second place with 41.45% of the vote—up from 17% in her first attempt ten years earlier.

Likewise, the Brothers of Italy, labeled “far right” by the mainstream press and led by Giorgia Meloni, shocked the continent by winning the Italian general election in 2022. When she took office as Prime Minister, Ms. Meloni said the Italian people had “sent a clear message in favor of a right-wing government.” Like other leaders surging in Europe, Meloni had promised to tackle mass migration to the continent.