Thursday

20th Feb 2020

Ruling socialists win Portugal election, but no majority

  • 'The PS will strive to find solutions that ensure this stability for the entire legislature,' Portuguese prime minister António Costa said (Photo: Partido Socialista)

Portuguese prime minister António Costa's Socialist Party (PS) won Sunday's (6 October) parliamentary election - increasing from 85 to 106 lawmakers in the 230-seat parliament, but short of an outright majority.

The PS won with 36.6 percent of the votes, followed by the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) with 27.9 percent (77 seats), the Left Bloc (19 seats) with 9.6 percent and the Communist together with the Greens with 6.4 percent (12 seats), according to results released by the interior ministry early on Monday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"It's clear from this election that the PS is reinforced and the allied parties consolidated their positions," Costa told cheering supporters after the elections.

The far-right political group Chega! (Enough!) got one seat in the parliament - the first time a far-right party enters Portugal's parliament since the end of Salazar's dictatorship in 1974.

The opposition conservative group CDS had their worst result since 1991, prompting the resignation of their leader Assunção Cristas.

"We face the democratic result with humility," she said.

However, Sunday's election turnout was just 54.5 percent, the lowest level for a general election since 1974.

Coalition allies

The results force Costa to find allies for a coalition government once again - aiming for a full majority of 116 seats.

After the last general election in 2015 in which the Socialists finished second, Costa convinced within two months the Communists and the Left Bloc to support a minority Socialist government called 'Geringonça' or improvised solution.

This election's result showed that the Portuguese like the political solution of 'Geringonca', Costa said on Sunday.

"Stability is essential for Portugal's international credibility and for attracting investors. The PS will strive to find solutions that ensure this stability for the entire legislature," he added.

Both the Left Bloc and the Communists said they would back the Socialists once again.

According to the leader of the Communist party, Jeronimo de Souza, "there is no obstacle for the president to appoint the prime minister and for the government to be formed and start working".

"We will determine our position depending on the PS' choices, on its budget instruments and the content of its legislative proposals," he added.

A strengthened PS has also the opportunity to partner with the People-Animals-Nature party (PAN), which won four seats (3.2 percent) up from one in 2015 - PAN has supported Costa's budget in the past.

Under the 'Geringonça' formula, economic growth in Portugal was higher than the European average in recent years – 2.4 percent in 2018 – and the unemployment rate similar to the level before the debt crisis (6.7 percent).

Analysis

How Portugal's leftist 'contraption' works

After six months in power, the improvised left-wing coalition between socialists, leftists and communists has managed to rule and even thrived, to many Portuguese's surprise.

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

Kurz wins in Austria with best result since 2002

Leader of the conservative People's Party (ÖVP) Sebastian Kurz won Sunday's snap parliamentary election in Austria with 38.4 percent of the vote, after he lost a confidence vote in May due to the 'Ibiza scandal'.

EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link

One major issue dividing member states in the ongoing budget negotiations is inserting a direct link between EU subsidies and the rule of law. While the biggest battle will be over figures, the rule of law conditionality also creates tension.

Analysis

Is Belgium heading for new elections?

Belgian coalition talks have hit a wall nine months after elections, posing the possibility of a new vote, which risks making the country even harder to govern.

Central Europe mayors join in direct EU funds plea

They call themselves the "Pact of Free Cities". The mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague and Warsaw want EU funds to bypass their governments, in order to fight climate change and populism.

News in Brief

  1. EU unveils white paper on AI and data strategy
  2. Dutch court rules against Russia in €46bn Yukos case
  3. Britain to bar 'Polish plumber-type' migrants
  4. Greece seeks EU help to get back classical statues from UK
  5. HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide
  6. Regions chief appeals against cutting EU cohesion funds
  7. Verhofstadt criticises UK Brexit negotiator
  8. Turkish court acquits Gezi park activists

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link
  2. North Macedonia warns EU on 'dirtiest ever' election
  3. Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe
  4. Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU
  5. Cayman Islands put on tax-haven blacklist after Brexit
  6. Boris' Brexit bluff? - UK will resist alignment to the end
  7. US still open to Kosovo-Serbia land swap
  8. EU countries enter final phase of budget talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us