Mariana Mortagua assumes the leadership of the ailing Portuguese left
At the age of 28, the Portuguese deputy Mariana Mortágua made the leap to the international press for her impressive management as a spokesperson for the economy. And at 36, this weekend she assumes the leadership of a Left Bloc in very low hours, after being the third political force in Portugal until a year and a half ago.
After the catastrophe of the January 2022 elections of the formations to the left of the socialists, and while the Portuguese Communist Party remains locked in its immobility, this ideological space is entrusted to the star deputy. Mortágua has denounced that she suffers cruel persecution because of her lesbian status, because of her ideology, because she is the daughter of a revolutionary, and because she annoys the powers that be.
A good communicator, the deputy rose to fame in 2015 during the investigation of the crisis of the intervened Banco Espirito Santo
The rise to fame of this deputy, the twin sister of another Bloque parliamentarian, Joana Mortágua, occurred in 2015, in two specific sessions of the commission of investigation into the bankruptcy of one of the most prestigious financial institutions, Banco Espírito Santo (BES), intervened by the Bank of Portugal.
Even the former president of the BES and the main piece to be beaten by Mariana Mortágua, Ricardo Salgado, would later affirm about her that she studies the issues well and has "important and objective analyst qualities," according to the Público newspaper.
There were more deputies who carried out relevant work to clarify the excesses of the Portuguese financial collapse. Perhaps Mortágua's was deeper, but the key to her success resided in her communicator ability, to go beyond the torpor of figures and financial engineering with two viral thrusts.
The first was to Zeinal Bava, former executive director of Portugal Telecom, for decades almost a national pride, the business Cristiano Ronaldo, as the Portuguese executive awarded worldwide. Faced with her cascade of evasions about the hole in her company due to the investments in the BES well, the deputy concluded that "it is a bit of an amateur for someone who has won so many awards for best CEO of the year and best CEO in Europe and surroundings, right? do you think?
Ricardo Salgado was attacked by appealing to his legendary nickname in acronyms, that of "DDT, Dono Disto Todo, owner of all this." "The owner of all this became the victim of all this," Mariana Mortágua ironized before the bank's former president's commitment to present himself as a victim of the decisions of the Bank of Portugal, without having anything to do with the ruin of his empire .
A possible front of criticism of the new coordinator of the Block lies in the family issue, since after the brutal fall of 2022, from 19 to 5 seats, she and her twin went on to represent 40% of the parliamentary group. Both carry politics in their DNA.
Mariana and her twin Joana, also a deputy, are the daughters of Camilo Mortágua, a revolutionary against the Salazar dictatorship
His father, Camilo Mortágua, was a revolutionary who participated in actions against the dictatorship such as the hijacking of the ocean liner Santa María in 1961 by Portuguese and Galician exiles and emigrants. They intended to denounce the Salazar and Franco regimes worldwide and reach Angola to spread the uprising. They ended up in asylum in Brazil.
Mortágua alluded to his father's career in April on the television program in which he participated, when he denounced suffering that campaign of persecution. He linked her to her family tree, her “apparent gift” to annoy the powerful, her ideology and her lesbian status. In this way, he revealed her homosexuality in public, in an intervention in which he reacted to the dismissal of the third complaint against her in a year for alleged irregularities.
Mortágua is the third leader of the Bloco, after the charismatic economist Francisco Louçã and the actress Catarina Martins, who shared the position with João Semedo for a time. Martins led the party to its all-time high in 2015 of 19 deputies and 10.2% of the vote, a few tenths above Louçã's ceiling. But in 2022 came the debacle of 4.4%, the worst result in 20 years.
The situation of the Bloc is extremely precarious, bankrupt, and it remains to be seen how Mortágua develops. Yes, the conditions for opposition are favorable, with the socialist government badly touched and the other parliamentary groups headless, except that of the far-right Chega.
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