António Costa’s PS Gaines a Historically Absolute Majority in Portugal Elections

  • The socialist António Costa, at 60, will face his third legislature.

The Socialist Party (PS) of Prime Minister António Costa won the early legislative elections held this Sunday in Portugal with a historically absolute majority, according to the official results of the Ministry of Interior.

Contrary to what the polls predicted, the Socialists won 117 delegates – one above the absolute majority, awaiting votes from abroad – which is an overwhelming victory over the Conservatives. Social Democratic Party (PSD)which won 71 seats, eight fewer than in 2019. With this result, the current prime minister will be able to implement his policies without being dependent on his former partners, the Left Block (BE) and the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP).

The Socialists’ strategy of blaming left-wing parties for the failure of the budgets eventually convinced voters. Despite speculation that Costa was tired after six years in government, the leader of the PS came out stronger than ever. The majority of the Portuguese recognized the socialists success in managing the pandemic -with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world- and the maintenance of socio-economic indicators that, despite the health crisis, suffered little. The country still has good growth forecasts and the Executive has managed to reduce the unemployment rate to 6.1%.

defeat of the law

In turn, the expectations of the PSD and its leader, Rui Rio, They were left on wet paper. Just a few days ago, the polls gave the Conservatives an edge over the PS, in what was an injection of confidence in the social-democratic ranks. Finally, the party failed to improve the 2019 results, something that will force it to do self-criticism and to decide on the future of his leader, who has already opened the door for his departure in the event of the loss of the election despite the fact that he was recently re-elected in elections held at the end of November. Rio will submit to the militants’ trust, although it did not specify when.

A significant proportion of right-wing voters this time voted for Chega, the far-right formation, which is making a significant leap compared to the results of two years ago, when he won only one deputy in Parliament. the party leader, Andre Ventura, celebrated the good records of the formation, which exceeded 7% of the vote, although he regretted another “less positive” result, referring to the victory of the PS. “It will be very bad for the country António Costa becomes Prime Minister again & rdquor;Ventura assured shortly after knowing the predictions of the first exit polls.

In addition to Chega, the party Liberal Initiative –which is well received by the middle classes in big cities – has also managed to improve its results, although less than the latest polls have predicted, while the historic Christian Democratic Party Democratic and Social Center (CDS), which is in coalition with the PSD ruled between 2011 and 2015 he received just over 1% of the vote.

Punishment of BE and PCP

The two former partners of the socialist government are finished paid dearly for his rejection of the accounts. The BE adds five delegates, 14 less than in 2019, and is no longer the third political force, its main objective during the campaign. The demands regarding the increase in the minimum wage and pensions, as well as the strengthening of the National Health Service, have a part of the voters of the ‘geringonça’. The Communists suffer less from the failure of the budgets, thanks to a more established voter base than that of the BE, although they have lost six seats out of the 12 they had in the previous legislature. The PCP is suffering from a slow loss of votes and it is possible that Sousa will make way for a successor within a short period of time.

More participation

The main political leaders, including Costa and Rio, again insisted that all security conditions be guaranteed and made one last call to vote before the closure of the schools, especially to the nearly one million people – almost 10% of the electorate – who is in a situation of isolation and who is a specific time to go vote, late in the afternoon. The early voting, which allowed nearly 300,000 voters last Sunday to go to the polls, and the pressure of the constrained during the last hours of the day allowed the 2019 turnout to improve by almost 10 points and it at 57 % to post.

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Next steps

With the clear victory of the PS, it is very likely that the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Costa is appointed prime minister after holding talks with the main parties this week. Once the government is formed, Costa must present its program in Parliament within ten days and have sufficient support to continue it. To achieve this, it is enough that the majority of the chamber does not vote against it, something that has already been guaranteed.

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