The military leaders of the Carnation Revolution, which restored democracy to Portugal 38 years ago, boycotted the annual commemoration in protest at the policies of Pedro Passos Coelho’s center-right Social Democratic Party government. Also absent were leftist political heavyweights Mário Soares, a former president, and the writer and Socialist ex-minister Manuel Alegre.
The announcement of the boycott was made on Monday by Vasco Lourenço, one of the captains who led the 1974 coup, who was absent from the ceremony at parliament for the first time in history. “The measures and the sacrifices imposed on citizens exceed the limits of what is acceptable,” reads the statement. “[Portugal’s] political direction protects the privileged, aggravates poverty and devalues work.”
The statement concludes that Portugal “has not been respected as an equal in the construction of the [...] European Union. Portugal is being treated with arrogance by external powers.”
None of the political parties joined the boycott and Passos Coelho said that he was used to certain public figures, in reference to Soares, “seeking the limelight on important dates.”