Far-right’s success is a measure of a changing Portugal

Visitors in the afternoon sun at a beach in Albufeira, Faro district, Portugal, on March 19, 2024. [Gonçalo Fonseca/The New York Times]

The sun-soaked Algarve region on Portugal's southern coast is a place where guitar-strumming backpackers gather by fragrant orange trees and digital nomads hunt for laid-back vibes. It is not exactly what comes to mind when one envisions a stronghold of far-right political sentiment.

But it is in the Algarve region where the anti-establishment Chega party finished first in national elections this month, both unsettling Portuguese politics and injecting new anxiety throughout the European establishment. Nationwide, Chega received 18% of the vote.

"It's a strong signal for Europe and for the world," said João Paulo da Silva Graça, a freshly elected Chega lawmaker, sitting at the party's new Algarve headquarters as tourists asked for vegan custard tarts at a bakery downstairs. "Our values must prevail."

Chega, which means "enough" in Portuguese, is the first hard...

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