18th Sep 2021

Coelho re-elected as PM of Portugal

  • Lisbon: Bloco de Esquerda clinched 19 seats (Photo: Raphael Chekroun)

Pedro Passos Coelho will remain in power as prime minister of Portugal.

In Parliamentary elections held on Sunday (4 October), 38.6% of Portuguese voters chose to keep in office the centre-right PSD/CDS coalition that was elected in 2011, shortly after Portugal's creditors - the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – imposed a set of tough austerity measures.

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With the 104 seats that he secured, Coelho fell short of the 116 seats that would allow him to control the parliament.

Coelho now faces a significant and urgent challenge: he will need to convince his main opposition, the socialist party (PS), not to vote against the 2016 budget.

"We will look for the ones in Parliament who have a European approach and who respect Eurozone rules", he said in his winning speech.

Having lost 28 seats and the absolute majority he won in 2011, PSD/CDS are now the only formation in the parliament that do not hail from the left.

Besides the socialists, with 88 seats, there are the communists (17 seats) and Bloco de Esquerda (BE), similar to Syriza in Greece.

BE was one of the election night surprises, grabbing 19 of the seats and 10.2% of the vote, their best result ever, and thereby becoming the third biggest parliamentary group in Portugal.

"We have to break a historical lack of understanding between PS and the communists that [has lasted] since 1975”, Helena Roseta, a socialist now elected member of parliament that until recently worked with socialist leader António Costa, when he was mayor of Lisbon.

"The youngest ones didn't live those times after the revolution and [they] don't understand that. These are new times and people should have a chance to choose between a right coalition and a broad left alliance."

While assuming the responsibility of his party's defeat, Costa did not resign.

"Don't count on us to approve polices that are against what we defend", he said.

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