Portugal's Socialist Party (PS) won Sunday's snap parliamentary elections called after Parliament failed to approve in October the budget submitted by Prime Minister António Costa, who will remain in office. But Sunday's results also showed an increase in the number of seats held by right-wing movements.
The Socialist Costa's collected 41.91% of the votes, more than enough to remain government head on its own, it was reported. Electoral authorities also said turnout had been gauged at 56% despite a huge increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Socialists win 117 seats in the 230-seat parliament, an increase from the 108 they held until December, while four seats still need to be attributed in the coming days from votes cast abroad.
The second most voted force was the Social Democratic Party, led by Rui Rio, which garnered 28.6% of the popular support, while the far-right Chega party came in third with 7.11% of the votes, thanks to which it moved up from seventh place it the previous elections.
The Liberal Initiative received 4.39% of the votes, and the Left Bloc fell from third place in 2019 to the fifth position, with 4% of the votes, while the Unitary Democratic Coalition, formed by the Portuguese Communist Party and the Ecologist Party, were favored by 3.87% of Portugal's voters.
Costa declared victory: it is more or less obvious that the Socialist Party has won these elections. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has already his fellow Socialist colleague through Twitter.
Back in October 2021, political forces blocked the budget for the year 2022 submitted by Costa, thus prompting a breakup in the leftwing alliance which brought Costa to power in 2015. In December, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa dissolved Parliament and called early elections. What's done is done and we have to look to the future, Rebelo de Sousa said Sunday.
A stable government is crucial for Portugal to make the most of a €16.6 billion package of European Union recovery funds it is due to receive by 2026. “An absolute majority doesn’t mean absolute power. It doesn’t mean to govern alone. It’s an increased responsibility,” Costa said in his victory speech. “The conditions have been created to carry out investments and reforms for Portugal to be more prosperous, fairer, more innovative,” he added.
“Everything is going to be different in parliament,” Chega leader Andre Ventura, a tough-talking former TV sports commentator, told his supporters. “From now on there won’t be a soft opposition. We will assume the role of being the real opposition to the Socialists…and restore dignity to this country.”