The Movement Socialist Alternative (MAS), the first party to deliver close to 20,000 signatures to be recognized by the Constitutional Court (CT) – the law requires 7500 – and was finally recognized, can now participate in elections.

The MAS was formed on March 10, 2012 after more than 200 militants left the Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda, BE in Portuguese) to whom joined former communists and socialists, as well as independent militants. In October of the same year the MAS delivered 9259 signatures to the Constitutional Court. But five months later, the judges of the TC, appointed by PS, PSD and CDS denied this right.

The first application for registration of the MAS was shockingly dismissed, MAS being asked for changes in its statute that even the current parties in the Parliament don’t present in theirs.  Moreover, MAS has been denied an opportunity to rectify the statutes to be accepted – which was denied to the MAS had been allowed to other parties, such as the Pro-Life Portugal Movement, which might alter their statutes without having to collect new signatures.

That decision, a real political persecution to the party that advocates a referendum on the euro, the end of the privileges of politicians and the arrest of whoever stole and indebted the country, outraged many sectors of society. Political analysts such as José Pacheco Pereira and Daniel Oliveira denounced the fact, but it was the Chairman of the Bar Association, Antonio Marinho Pinto, who reported that the CT acted as the “guardian of the rotten and corrupt party system.”

Dozens of personalities like Vasco Lourenço, Viriato Soromenho Marques, Urbano Tavares Rodrigues, José Mário Branco and Ana Drago, signed a petition in solidarity with the MAS. Dozens of activists, trade unionists and international political figures, highlighting several deputies and senators of the Brazilian PT, also wrote to the CT so that it stepped back on his decision. But they persisted and forced MAS to collect new signatures.

In this period the MAS opened a national headquarters, three more offices across the country, made ​​a national event for fund raising, and a youth camp, joining many hundreds of people. At the same time it was a growing force in the demonstrations all over the country, from Braga to Lisbon or Coimbra and Funchal. And, while fighting back, the MAS have collected more than 10,100 signatures in just over two months, and handed them to the CT in late May, with the required changes in its statutes. Today, August 1st, we received the news that the MAS have been accepted by the CT and that from now on it may apply for elections. It was a great victory for a new party that insisted on being enrolled despite the censorship of the judges of the regime. The CT didn’t allow a new party to exist, but just recognized an unavoidable truth: a new alternative emerged against the austerity and the regime, whether the powerful want it or not.

Yet the decision of the TC is nonetheless scheming and anti-democratic. On the one hand the judges waited for the confirmation that the government is not going to fall for now, and that there wouldn’t be early elections for the MAS to make itself known. On the other, they delayed the decision, so that the deadline for delivering of candidate lists for local elections was over, to ensure that the MAS would not run.

So, this is not a “free ride” of the CT nor a sudden democratic spirit of the Judges paid their weight in gold by PS, PSD and CDS. It is the victory of an alternative party born already in confrontation with the “rotten and corrupt” party system that rises against the privileges of politicians, austerity, debt and the euro. The MAS comes to stay and has open doors for those who want to struggle for a new April 25 [refers to the 1974 revolution in Portugal].