Young people may have an important say in Portugal’s election. Many are voting for the first time, and they are being wooed by all sides. However, they are traditionally left-leaning, which will please the Socialists; some prefer the conservatives; few are prepared to support the right. But as they weigh up this election, young people admit they’re not usually interested in politics, and are finding it hard to make a choice.
One girl said: “We don’t usually pay much attention to politics, and suddenly we have to decide which candidates to vote for.” Another agreed: “At our age, we don’t have a clear view of politics and politicians. It’s very complicated.” It’s not only complicated; history shows that once they win power, politicians often don’t seem too concerned with youth issues. And that creates apathy. This girl said: “Politicians don’t inspire me with much confidence, but it’s a duty and a right and an obligation. I will vote, then I can criticise.” As in elections everywhere, jobs, education and the environment are things that matter most to young Portuguese. But nearly a quarter of people under-24 say they won’t bother to vote, while of those who will take part, almost one-in-two are doing so with little enthusiasm.