EP word of the week (#42): BE (e outras siglas políticas)

When applying for approval of its electoral candidacy to the Portuguese Constitutional Court ([o] Tribunal Constitucional), political parties are asked to provide certain symbols that can make them recognizable to the general population. Of those, their acronyms and party symbols are the most important, since they serve as spoken/written and visual ways, respectively, that allow them to establish a special identity with voters – especially in multiparty democracy where the number of parties is numerous.

Portuguese calls initialisms (“a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, witheach letter pronounced separately”, source) [as] siglas (sing. [a] sigla), with true acronyms (which form vowels) being called [os] acrónimos (sing. [o] acrónimo). In common parlance, all are called siglas, the rule of least effort working again in favor of the shortest possible word!

Here is a list of Portuguese political parties, their acronyms, and the ways people usually refer to them in daily life.

  • BE – [o] Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc, ); referred to by its name or simply “[o] Bloco”; the actual initialism BE is only used in print, never spoken out loud;
  • PCP – [o] Partido Comunista Português (Portuguese Communist Party); initialisms “PC” (pê-cê, less formal), “PCP” (pê-cê-pê), “Partido Comunista”, “[os] comunistas”)
  • PEV – Partido Ecologista “Os Verdes” (Ecologist Party “The Greens”); acronym “PEV” (Pé-ve); “Os Verdes”
  • PAN – Pessoas, Animais, Natureza (People, Animals, Nature); acronym “PAN” (
  • PS – Partido Socialista (Socialist Party); initialism “PS” (pê-ésse); “Partido Socialista”, “[os] socialistas”
  • PSD – Partido Social Democrata (Social Democratic Party); initialism “PSD” (pê-ésse-dê); “[os sociais-democratas]”.
  • CDS-PP – Centro Democrático Social-Partido Popular (Social Democratic Center – Popular Party); initialisms “CDS-PP” (cê-dê-ésse pê-pê); “CDS”, “PP”; “os democratas-cristãos” (Christian democrats), “os populares”

These are the seven political parties currently represented in the Portuguese parliament, The Assembly of the Republic – A Assembleia da República, in Portuguese.

2 thoughts on “EP word of the week (#42): BE (e outras siglas políticas)

  1. edmeyr June 12, 2016 / 2:40 am

    Só sete!? (brincando)…por acaso, ontem estava falando com uma amiga sobre os 37 (!) partidos brasileiros e os acrónimos/as siglas deles. “Interpretando” os nomes dos partidos português, a maioria parece ser de esquerda pelos nomes. Qual deles está em poder? Obrigada…


    • luisdomingos June 12, 2016 / 12:52 pm

      We currently have PS in power, with its government supported in Parliament by Bloco, PCP and PEV. That means all government ministers are either PS cadre politicians (or independents chosen by our PS prime minister), but that the government has the confidence of a majority of the parliament (which is crucial in parliamentary or semipresidential systems, where the government needs Parliament support to function with some stability). In practical terms, all laws that are passed in the Assembly by the majority (PS+BE+PCP+PEV) are negotiated and ironed out between these parties (PS has a separate agreement with each of the other three to settle the larger issues they agree are necessary to maintain this alliance), but the PM and the other ministers have some leeway when it comes to matters that are of the government’s sole responsibility (while making sure no feathers are ruffled with the other parties).


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