The 2015 legislative elections in Portugal led to a major shift in the characteristics of the party system through the formation of a socialist minority government supported by the Left Block and the Portuguese Communist Party. This study examines the trajectory of the radical left in Portugal since the implementation of the 2011 EU–International Monetary Fund bailout and analyses the possible reasons for the parties becoming coalition partners. We argue that left–left cooperation is primarily explained by the impact of austerity policies – in particular the huge welfare state retrenchment – and party leadership interests. In addition, the study confirms the importance of centralisation and intra-party cohesion in establishing a new politics of alliance.
- left government
- Radical-left parties