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What You Need to Know About Portugal’s Election

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In a surprising turn of events, Portugal is gearing up for a new election after former Prime Minister António Costa resigned amidst a corruption investigation last year. This move has thrown the country into a state of uncertainty, with the possibility of a shift in power for the first time in over eight years.

Initially, Costa’s Socialist Party seemed poised for another term, given their strong majority in Parliament. However, the corruption probe involving lithium exploration concessions tainted Costa’s government, leading to his resignation.

As the election approaches, Portugal faces the potential of a minority government and the looming presence of a hard-right populist party, Chega, which has gained traction in recent years.

The catalyst for the upcoming election was Costa’s resignation amid allegations of corruption related to lithium exploration concessions, hydrogen production, and a data center construction.

The investigation into these activities has strained Portugal’s potential for foreign investment, particularly in the crucial lithium sector, essential for the EU’s green energy transition.

While Costa has not been formally charged, the cloud of suspicion around his government prompted his resignation to uphold the integrity of the prime minister’s office.

In the upcoming election, the Socialist Party and the Democratic Alliance, a center-right coalition led by the Social Democratic Party, are the main contenders.

Polls indicate a close race between the Socialists and the Democratic Alliance, with Pedro Nuno Santos leading the Socialist Party after Costa’s departure.

Notably, the rise of Chega, a hard-right party advocating for stricter anti-corruption measures, has added a new dynamic to the election. While Chega may not have the same mainstream support as the leading parties, their presence could influence the formation of the government.

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If the Democratic Alliance secures a victory, forming a coalition with Chega could prove challenging, potentially leading to an unstable minority government.

The emergence of Chega marks a shift in Portugal’s political landscape, as hard-right parties gain momentum in a traditionally centrist country.

While Chega’s support has grown in recent years, its influence in shaping Portugal’s future remains uncertain.

The upcoming election will determine the country’s trajectory amid economic challenges, including soaring house prices and a cost-of-living crisis.

With these pressing issues at stake, voters are looking for a government that can address their everyday concerns and provide stability in a time of uncertainty.

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Black couple overcomes racism to rent to Chinese family, who show gratitude by paying rent.

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Decades ago, in the early 1900s, racism and discriminatory housing practices plagued the town of Coronado, barring many individuals from living in certain neighborhoods based on their race. In the midst of this oppressive era, an inspiring story of resilience and generosity unfolded between two families — the Thompsons, a Black couple, and the Dongs, a Chinese family.

Gus and Emma Thompson, who were among the few Black families to own property in Coronado before racial restrictions took hold, defied the norms of the time by renting their house to the Dong family. Lloyd Dong Sr., a Chinese immigrant, and his wife found solace in the Thompsons’ willingness to offer them a place to call home despite the racist barriers they faced.

Fast forward 85 years later, the sons of Lloyd Dong Sr., Ron Dong, and Lloyd Dong Jr., have decided to pay forward the kindness shown to their family by donating $5 million from the sale of the house they eventually owned to San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center. This generous gift will help expand scholarships for Black students and fund renovations at the center, creating a lasting impact on the community.

Exterior view of a single-story home

The Dongs’ family house in Coronado, originally the home of the Thompsons.

(Courtesy of Janice Dong)

This heartwarming tale of intergenerational gratitude highlights the resilience and spirit of unity that transcends racial boundaries. Brandon Gamble, the director of the Black Resource Center, expressed the profound impact of this donation on the community, emphasizing the importance of stories that challenge racism and foster a sense of camaraderie.

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Reflecting on the legacy of his father and the Thompsons, Ron Dong shared, “That was the big plus for our family, because it has made all the difference for us.” The intertwined histories of the Thompson and Dong families serve as a testament to the power of empathy and solidarity in the face of adversity.

Gus Thompson’s journey from slavery to becoming a respected community leader in Coronado, coupled with Emma Thompson’s advocacy for civil rights, exemplifies the resilience and determination of marginalized communities to thrive in the face of oppression.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

(Norman Baynard Collection / San Diego History Center)

The legacy of allyship and support exemplified by the Thompsons extends to their willingness to assist Asian Americans facing similar discriminatory practices. This act of solidarity echoes the sentiment that in times of oppression, helping others regardless of race is not just a gesture but a necessity.

As the Dong family embraced their new home in Coronado, overcoming discrimination and forging their path to homeownership, they carried forward the spirit of resilience and unity shown to them by the Thompsons. The bond between these two families serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in a society marred with division and prejudice.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and tent city on the beach, 1908.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and a tent city on the beach, 1908.

(Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images)

The resilience and determination displayed by the Dong family in the face of discrimination, coupled with their unwavering commitment to education and community upliftment, exemplify the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The decision to give back to the community through education underscores the transformative power of generosity and empathy in creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

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As the Dongs’ generous donation paves the way for future generations to access educational opportunities and resources, their story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who strive to overcome adversity and champion unity in the face of division.

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