There is a cultural shock when a Spanish young man approaches the CDS-PP entourage, under the Arc de Triomf on Augusta Street in Lisbon (yesterday, late afternoon), attracted by the festive and fun sound of Original Bandalheira Fanfarra – an itinerant band that touches on weddings, baptisms, gastronomic parties or, in this case, a CDS-PP ruin in the election campaign for the European Parliament. Now a young Popular Youth activist is approaching and delivering a pamphlet with the face of Nuno Melo, head of the CDS-PP list, to the young Spaniard. Here is the brief dialogue that we transcribe:
_ What is this?
_ It belongs to the CDS party, for the European elections …
_ Ah! I am an anarchist!
_ Yes, I am against all kinds of power.
The young Spanish anarchist loses interest in Original Bandalheira Fanfarra as soon as he realizes that he is inadvertently in the context of a party campaign initiative for the European elections. And he departs from the CDS-PP party that begins his march down Rua Augusta, to the rhythm of the band and not less frenetic Nuno Melo, accompanied in the lead by Asunción Cristas, leader of the party, also at the pace of the race.
The initial scene is replicated along almost the whole route: instead of Portuguese voters, Melo and Cristas are mainly faced with foreigners and tourists. Even though we are not anarchists like the young Spaniard who rejected the pamphlet, let us say that they are not properly receptive to the CDS-PP's political proposals for the next parliamentary term in the European Parliament. But nothing that would fool Melo into wearing the entertainer that has to maintain the continuity of the spectacle, to the point of taking selfies with tourists and later entering shellfish and clothing stores looking for potential voters.
On the margins of the parade, Pedro Mota Soares, number two on the list of candidates, is trying to distribute pamphlets. For its part, the number three in the list, Raquel Vaz-Pinto, enceta some dialogues with passers-by. In the group are also deputy Nuno Magalhães and former leader Adolfo Mesquita Nunes. In all, there are about a hundred militants, especially the Popular Youth, the most enthusiastic, singing "Nuno Melo's victory" along the whole of Augusta Street. But the focus is on the band. The "arruada" becomes a tourist attraction, with a slight trick roar emanated from the flags and the sound of fanfare. Tourists photograph and film. It is spectacle politics.
O boom and the spirit of 2017
"It was a campaign action perhaps on the most European street in Portugal, with the opportunity to speak with Portuguese people and others who are European and will vote," Melo later explained, after taking a photograph next to a wedding dress mime . For the head of the CDS-PP list, Augusta Street illustrates some of the main benefits of the European integration project, namely "the free movement of people and goods" and "tourism explosion".
Not by chance, Mesquita Nunes, one of the main drivers of this boom tourism in Portugal (during the post of Secretary of State for Tourism, between 2011 and 2015), was present in the initiative. And Melo did not fail to attribute this merit to the journalists. But the other side of the coin of the recent CDS-PP past in the previous government also appeared in Baixa de Lisboa, through a lady who approached Cristas in the middle of the "ruined", criticizing her because of the "lace law".
In the end, Cristas relativized this situation, admitting that "it was not all perfect" in changing the "rent law" in 2012, but remembering that "the city was decrepit." As for the "ruled", even if it did not serve to convey the political message of the CDS-PP to many potential voters, at least it would have been a tonic of enthusiasm for the party's hosts, as if reviving the spirit of the campaign for municipal elections in the capital in 2017.
"We proved in Lisbon that it was not impossible," recalled Cristas, who was questioned about the latest polls. "Everyone thought there was, we proved there was not. I continue to believe that there is no impossibility, in the European and in the legislative. " On Sunday it will be known if such polls have again underestimated the CDS-PP, or if this time it was even impossible.