The Socialist Party achieves a comfortable victory in Portugal

  • Prime Minister Costa succeeds in strengthening his leadership following the political crisis generated by the failure of the budgets

  • The Conservative Social Democratic Party rises less than expected and the extreme right becomes the third power

The Socialist Party (PS) of the Prime Minister, António Costa, has a bang on the table in the Parliamentary election this Sunday in Portugal. Contrary to what the polls suggest, the Socialists have a loose majority with about 42% of the vote at the end of this issue, far from its main rival, the Conservatives Social Democratic Party (PSD), which received about 30% of the vote. With this result, the current Prime Minister will be able to renew his government until 2026 and can even achieve an absolute majority that will allow him to carry out 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. Although the match manages to improve the results of 2019, this Sunday’s defeat will force the match to do self-criticism and to decide the future of his leader, who has already opened the door for his departure in the event of losing the election despite the fact that he was recently re-elected in a by-election held in December. 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 at the end of this issue 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 loses almost half of its power and ceases to be 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 are less disgusted by the failure of the budgets, as they have a more established voter base than the BE. However, the PCP is suffering from a slow loss of votes and it is possible that Sousa will make way for a successor in a short time.

More participation

The situation of the pandemic and the low turnout at polling stations during the morning he cast great doubt on the participation data. At the Nuno Gonçalves school, in the center of Lisbon, the majority of voters expressed concern about the low movement of people, especially young people.

The main political leaders, including Costa and Rio, once again insisted that all security conditions be guaranteed and made one last call to vote, especially to the nearly one million people – almost 10% of the electorate – who are in a situation of isolation and what a specific time to go vote, late in the afternoon. The early voting, which allowed nearly 300,000 voters to go to the polls last Sunday, and the impetus of the constrained during the last hours of the day improved the 2019 turnout by eight points, putting it at 56%.

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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, already decided this week to start talks with the main parties and appoint Costa as prime minister. 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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