UK. Portuguese candidates try to “give voice” to the people

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“BFor me, it never comes down to politics. Currently, I have no ambition to do business. The reason I want to do this is because I really want to help the people who live here. I want to give them a voice, I want to have someone to represent them, to understand the issues, I have lived here, I have lived here all my life,” he told Agensia Lusa.

Born in London, but married to a Portuguese, as the daughter of a Portuguese, the 41-year-old employee of a local associative organization presents herself in the constituency. [ward] Waterloo and South Bank, along the banks of the Thames, are undergoing major urban restructuring.

In 2019, along with some neighboring countries, he garnered huge media attention by exposing the lack of access to common recreational areas for children in the community reception area of ​​the property development.

“This area is very ‘heavy’ in terms of building, and that’s where Lambeth is bringing in a lot of money. But the locals forget. My main goal is to ask residents and not all decisions made are negative. Impact.”

Lombard is home to a large Portuguese-speaking community, with around 35,000 of the 328,000 inhabitants, including Portuguese, Brazilians or Angolans. Portuguese is the second most spoken language after English.

Stockwell is also known as “Little Portugal” due to the many Portuguese cafes and shops surrounding it.

In nearby L’Ovale, Diego Costa, 23, of another Portuguese background, was running as Lambert’s youngest candidate for mayor after being encouraged by ‘comrades’ from the Labor Party and the Socialist Party Portuguese. in which it divides.

“They recognized the need for someone to represent the Portuguese community and that was one of the reasons they wanted me to compete,” said computer programmer Agência Lusa.

Growing up in the UK, Diego Costa believes he has ‘an advantage over Lambert’s former Portuguese advisers’ as he has ‘different traditions and ways of doing politics’ in Portugal and how ‘the UK system works “.

In the past, Gabriel Fernandez was the Liberal Democrats between 2002 and 2003 and Gilherm Rosa was the two Portuguese councilors for “labour” between 2014 and 2018.

Costa, the former “mayor” of the Lambeth Youth Council, is the current leader of the PS faction in the UK, without hiding certain political aspirations.

“Most of the Portuguese arrived in the 1970s or 1990s and are low-skilled labor migrants who do not speak English. Their needs must be represented in the municipality,” Costa said.

Lambeth has always been a Labour-dominated municipality, so Diego Cosa and Sarina da Silva are optimistic about the election.

Across town, Sofia de Souza faces the challenge of running for a second term in the Blackwall & Cupid Town constituency for the Conservative Party, which also sits in the Labour-dominated Tower Hamlets Chamber.

However, he told Lusa, “Even if the probability of success is low, I will try again. The experience is always worth it. »

“After the last elections four years ago, I decided to continue to be involved and to start participating in many activities in the community. For example, volunteering with children through girlkiding. I am also a member of the Local Residents Council. I am involved,” he said.

The Conservative Party has an absolute parliamentary majority and, contrary to government policy at national level, is the opposition to the ‘Tories’ ‘Labour’ party in Tower Hamlets.

“Each candidate’s name will appear on the ballot, so my goal is to provide proposals and results that our residents can trust and vote for,” he told Lusa.

In the north of the city, Lucia Das Neves, of Portuguese origin, is a candidate for re-election to the “Labour” party for the Woodside district of the municipality of Haringi.

Outside the capital, Januvario Guzmão and Diego Rodriguez are Conservative Party candidates for Bridgewater City Council in the constituencies of Somerset, Eastover and Bridgewater East & Powtrip, respectively.

Rodriguez, who was once mayor of the village in 2018, is the first Portuguese to accept such a post in the UK and is the most experienced Portuguese-born mayor, having accumulated seven years in office.

Elected by Labor in 2015, he left the ‘Labour’ party in conflict with the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and remained independent for a few months until he joined the ‘Tories’.

Despite the change of parties, he hopes to retain the support of the Portuguese community, which he often helps, and the support of many voters in the south-west English city.

“I’m one of the most active advisors on social media. People know who I am. I’ve done a lot, especially raising more funds for youth opportunities,” he says.

Diego Rodriguez, 32, left Madeira aged 12 and grew up in the UK, first in London and then in the coastal town of Southend, in 2011 in Bridgewater.

Gone are the beginnings of discrimination as a foreigner, and today he believes: “People recognize my work”.

Also read: Record number of Portuguese candidates in UK local elections

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