Portugal: Against the Situation

Every four years, Premier Antonio de Oliveira Salazar preserves Portugal's image as a democracy by blowing the dust off a few selected "opposition" leaders and relaxing police controls just enough for a few weeks to permit them to run for Portugal's 130-seat National Assembly.

There are a few cracks in the facade. The assembly functions only as a rubber stamp. The opposition candidates are usually feeble old men left over from a regime that was discredited and overthrown four decades ago, and Salazar decides what they can and cannot talk about (prohibido this year: any mention of troubles in the...

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