Electoral triumph of the socialists in Portugal

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Socialist Party supporters react to election results announced by TV stations. © Armando Franca/AP/dpa

In the early parliamentary elections, a victory for the governing party is on the horizon. But only with the official result will it be clear whether the Socialists are dependent on a partner.

Lisbon – The ruling Socialist Party (PS) surprisingly won the new parliamentary elections in Portugal after counting a large part of the votes.

She came to a good 42 percent, as the national election commission announced on Sunday evening after counting around 90 percent of the votes. The Socialists can even hope for an absolute majority in Parliament.

An absolute majority of parliamentary seats is considered possible after the complicated election procedure from about 41 percent. However, whether the PS has actually won at least 116 of the 230 seats in the “Assembleia da República” will only be known with the provisional official final result. So far, Prime Minister António Costa, who has been in power since the end of 2015, has not had an absolute majority – so he was dependent on the support of smaller left-wing parties with his minority government.

Costa: “Have to wait for final results”

“It seems clear that the PS won and came out stronger (from the election), but we have to wait for the final results,” said the 60-year-old in a first reaction.

Parliamentary elections in Portugal
Almost eleven million eligible voters in Portugal were called upon to cast their votes. © Armando Franca/AP/dpa

In the election campaign, Costa campaigned for a continuation of his previous policy: he wants to continue to promote the economy, reduce social inequalities – and at the same time stabilize public finances.

The largest opposition party, the conservative PSD under its top candidate Riu Rio, came to just under 30 percent according to the preliminary results. In the previous election in autumn 2019, the PS won 36.3 percent, the PSD received 27.8 percent. All other parties, including the right-wing populist Chega (It’s enough), stayed in the single digits.

New elections called in November 2021

Costa has led two minority governments since late 2015, supported by smaller left-wing parties such as the Marxist Left Bloc (BE), the Communists (PCP) and the Greens (PEV). However, there was no formal coalition agreement. The cooperation broke up last autumn when BE, PCP and PEV, together with the conservative opposition, rejected Costa’s draft budget for 2022 in parliament. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa then called new elections in early November.

The former allies had demanded more social spending in the 2022 budget from the socialist government, also with a view to the EU’s billions in corona aid. However, Costa did not want to give up his cautious spending policy.

Antonio Costa
Prime Minister António Costa’s social-democratic PS has won the elections in Portugal. © Paulo Duarte/AP/dpa

During the election campaign, the trained lawyer Costa had long declared an absolute majority as the goal in order to “have a stable government”. Most recently, however, against the background of poorer poll results, he no longer ruled out a resumption of cooperation with BE, PCP, PEV and possibly other small left-wing groups. dpa


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