Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable: Liberalism in Portugal - Succeeding in Trasmitting the Liberal Message

11. Mar 2017
Lisbon, Portugal
The presence of Liberal forces in Portugal throughout the Second Republic (1976-...) has been unstable at best. Very recently, new forces have been starting their activities, looking towards the creation of political parties before the European Elections of 2019. In this event we will approach the multiple elements to keep in mind when creating and managing a political party, within a small discussion group gathering participants from all relevant political groups in Portugal and with inputs from members of fellow Liberal parties across Europe. This is a closed event for members from MLS and from organisations that identify themselves with the European Liberal family and aspire to join ALDE Party.

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  • Short view

    The event started shortly after 15h30 with an opening address of Igor Caldeira, on behalf of the European Liberal Forum, introducing the organisation and explaining its aims and composition. Miguel Duarte welcomed the participants on behalf of the partner and ELF member, Movimento Liberal Social.

    At 15h45 the first session started, with Oriol Burges from the Spanish party Ciudadanos explaining the challenges of a new centrist political force, and they overcame. Moderated by Laura Laussade, Political Adviser responsible for Portugal at ALDE Party, there was an intense exchange of views with participants on which lessons could be used in Portugal.

    Also under the moderation of Laura Laussade, one hour later Caroline Haury from Friedrich Naumann Stiftung explained the electoral evolution of FDP and how it extracted lessons from the previous debacle.

    After a coffee break we re-started at 17h50 with a session that spread over more than an hour with Stefan Windberger, from NEOSLab, on the concept of political entrepreneurship and on how it allows a better materialization of internal democracy in civic movements and political parties. Moderated by Joakim Frantz, Manager, Campaigning and Capacity Building at ALDE Party, participants were deeply interested in learning how NEOS organized itself, giving rise to a long exvhange of questions and answers.

    After a wrapping up of the afternoon sessions, Joakim Frantz presented conclusions on succeeding in shaping and transmitting the Liberal message with.

    Igor Caldeira closed the afternoon sessions at 19h45 and dinner started immediately afterwards, with José Manuel Fernandes, Portuguese journalist, gave a speech on “What future for Liberalism in Portugal?”. After the first dish both Ricardo Silvestre from the political movement Democratas and João Bernardino from the political movement L21 spoke on their visions for the future of Liberalism in Portugal.

    After the main dish there were questions and answers, after which Igor Caldeira thanked speakers and participants, closing the event. 

  • Report

    Why did you organise this project? 

    This project aimed at creating a dynamic of work and cooperation among Portuguese Liberals drawing inspiration from multiple European countries.

    Which objectives did you intend to achieve with this project? 

    • Bringing experienced speakers from multiple European countries to inspire Portuguese political activists
    • Discuss topics such as political entrepreneurship and internal democracy
    • Building benchmarks for political activism
    • Allow a networking opportunity for Portuguese Liberals

    What audience did you want to reach with this project?

    The event was overall a great success. We had foreseen 24 participants, but instead we got approximately 35/36 (plus speakers and organizers), thanks to the plurality of local partners and to an intensive promotion of the event in multiple platforms.

    We aimed essentially at Liberal-minded people living in Portugal and interested in building Liberal organisations.

    Who were the most relevant speakers and what were their contributions?

    • Speakers from three European Liberal organisations gave inputs from multiple backgrounds, allowing participants to be confronted with different realities.
    • Moderators from ALDE Party gave the proper context, adapting it to Portugal.
    • The Portuguese journalist, keynote speaker in the dinner, brought undoubtedly several participants who were interested in hearing his opinion on the future of Liberalism in the country.
    • The representatives of two Liberal movements allowed participants to see two options of political activism, hopefully allowing for new people to get engaged.
    • Both political movements (Democratas and L21) reported having received contacts after the event of people interested in participating
    • Both movements started working on how to apply the lessons from the event to their own movements. Democratas are producing a vade mecum for decentralized political activism.
    • Posts in social media attained reasonable attention.
    • We also had a satisfaction survey, to which 21 participants answered. The level of satisfaction was high. We also asked which topics they would be interested about in future events, and will use this as an element of reflection in future applications.
    • Political culture in Portugal discourages individual initiative. Nevertheless, a good framework based in the idea of political entrepreneurship can give way to more ample internal democracy

    What were the outcomes/results of the project? 

    • Both political movements (Democratas and L21) reported having received contacts after the event of people interested in participating
    • Both movements started working on how to apply the lessons from the event to their own movements. Democratas are producing a vade mecum for decentralized political activism.
    • Posts in social media attained reasonable attention.
    • We also had a satisfaction survey, to which 21 participants answered. The level of satisfaction was high. We also asked which topics they would be interested about in future events, and will use this as an element of reflection in future applications.
    • Political culture in Portugal discourages individual initiative. Nevertheless, a good framework based in the idea of political entrepreneurship can give way to more ample internal democracy

     

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