Socialist Party expected to remain in power
On the day after the public holiday to mark Republic Day, more than 20 political movements will be in the running as voters head to the polls for the Portuguese parliamentary elections in today.
Last time out, in 2015, the right-wing coalition (“Portugal Ahead”, formed by the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Party) won the most votes, but it was toppled after 11 days by the anti-austerity Socialist leader António Costa, who has since governed in an alliance with other left-wing parties (the Left Bloc, the Communist Party, and the Greens). Since then, Costa and his backers have confounded expectations by holding together their unprecedented deal, known as the geringonça – or improvised solution. As Portugal prepares to vote in Sunday’s general election, Costa is hoping that his track record will win him another term in office. He and his backers are generally credited with bringing about political and economic stability to a country that received a massive €78bn bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund during the financial crisis eight years ago.
Polls suggest that today the Socialists will win the most seats but will fail to secure a parliamentary majority.
The Portuguese political scene has been dominated by the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party since the 1974 Carnation Revolution, although the People’s Party (CDS) has been present in some governments. The Social Democrats. or PSD, who currently have the most MPs – 89 – are rather strangely named as they are in fact a centre-right party, not dissimilar to the Conservatives in the UK or the German CDU. They traditionally have dominated politics in Madeira, where they are expected to continue in power when a coalition with the CDS here is ratified.
Social Europe report that “The Portuguese governmental ‘contraption’ has turned out to be surprisingly enduring—so much so that it may face another term”.
“There is little suspense surrounding Sunday’s legislative elections in Portugal. The Socialist Party (PS), led by António Costa, is expected to return to power after four years of leading a minority government supported by the Left Bloc and the coalition Communist Party—Greens. The only enigma concerns the size of the Socialists’ victory. Are they going to be rewarded with a clear majority, which will enable the formation of a single-party government, or will they be forced to seek the support of other parties to form a minority government once more? Opinion polls conducted in recent months suggest Portuguese voters may deprive the PS of that desired majority in Parliament, but by just a few seats”.
The Guardian reports that “Europe’s beacon of social democracy heads to the polls“.
Interesting Euronews video below, summarizing the Portuguese elections, pointing out that Europe is not a major issue in this elections and the growth of the PAN (People – Animal – Nature) party