Forward Party: Centrist populist party forms ahead of General Election

In a press conference today, three-term deputy Ricardo Orantes (who was among the first intake of People’s Party parliamentarians back in 2009) made the unexpected announcement of the formation of the Forward Party, a centrist populist party.

The announcement came in the form of a scathing attack on the People’s Party. Orantes claims the party has lost sight of its original platform of direct, transparent, people-powered democracy, instead becoming “the lapdog of the Workers’ Party and its virtue-signaling agenda”.

The Forward Party states that it transcends the left-right political divide, working directly for the people instead of getting bogged down in partisan politics. Ahead of November’s General Election, the party has laid out its top policy priorities. These include strengthening the powers of citizen’s assemblies, relaxing electoral thresholds for party funding and airtime to better serve smaller parties, and codifying access to digital democracy through a constitutional amendment.

Orantes is joined in the new party by six other former People’s Party deputies, all of whom lost the whip earlier this year after voting against the government’s yearly budget bill. They were all regarded as moderates within the People’s Party who were outspoken critics of the party’s leadership for its perceived leftward shift. Three deputies from the Liberal-Democratic Alliance have also defected to the Forward Party.

The formation of the Forward Party puts the squeeze on the current coalition government as it aims to preserve its majority in November’s general election, which is by no means guaranteed. Forward will be targeting key People’s Party seats around the country, while the Workers’ Party is also struggling to regain momentum after a sluggish year and the Alliance for a Green Future is planning a largely defensive campaign to consolidate its record gains made in the 2019 election.

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