After the dramatic process of Budget negotiations between the PS and PSD, the country learned that the current political and party system leaves much to desired. The test on the minority government scenario failed, and partly because the main concern of the interlocutors on the recent budget (des)agreement has never been to ensure a working environment that could allow consistent political stability, but rather to seek political high ground and set the subsequent political agenda.
By virtue of the major cultural and political influences at the time, Portugal has never implemented a majority-type system (such as the English one, for example) that would allow the construction of one-party governments, and established a political system that would enhance regular parliamentary negotiations. However, our electoral history, particularly after 1986, has consecutively questioned the ambitions of our founding fathers, as we witnessed frequent election of majority governments, large parliamentary majorities or post-electoral coalition. In this sense, the dynamics of negotiations that should be the basis of the system was never fully leveraged. As a result, the party system settled down, got used to govern in majority and renounced negotiation processes to obtain political results.
A second dimension relates to the party system. Initially, the political parties played a social function and represented certain sectors of society and sought to establish policy proposals based on values, ideology and other variables. Today, the party system is oblivious of civil society, especially when referring to parties in power. Today the parties are more concerned at representing themselves internally. The parties have lost any ability to relate to the public space outside their internal structure, vanishing the social process that once had, replaced by a permanent search for election results to enable them a continue management of power. This lack of a dynamic and interactive interaction with the various sectors of society has led to a constant separation between civil society and parties, and the inability of the party system to generate new players to "refresh" the Portuguese political class.
These are two dimensions of systemic importance and should not be bleached of current political debate. Unfortunately we are still too worried with the minutiae of small politics, and we risk losing the opportunity to address the essential.