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Right-wing grows and defeats socialists in Portuguese parliamentary elections

Right-wing grows and defeats socialists in Portuguese parliamentary elections

Luis Montenegro, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, which won the parliamentary elections, needs to unite efforts to form a new government.| Photo: EFE/EPA/Thiago Petinga

The Portuguese went to the polls on Sunday (10) in a fierce vote to form a new parliament that gave victory to the country's centre-right, with the Democratic Alliance (AD), a coalition between the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Social Democratic Center (CDS), taking the win. Majority of seats – 79 in total.

Then, with a margin of less than 1% and two deputies, was the Socialist Party, which suffered a setback after nearly nine years in power in the wake of a corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Antonio Costa, last year. After announcing the investigation, the country's president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, decided to advance the voting date. The Socialist Party has 77 seats left in the new elections.

Despite the victory, the Democratic Action Party was unable to gather a majority to form a new government in Portugal. Thus, the task of the coalition leader, Luis Montenegro, will be to negotiate with the Socialists or with Chega, a right-wing, anti-immigration party that has become the third largest political force in the country, winning 48 seats in these parties. Elections, a significant figure that showed an almost four-fold increase in the number of seats under its control in Parliament.

After Socialist leader Pedro Nuno Santos admitted the party's defeat at the ballot box, Montenegro said in his speech: “The Portuguese people have spoken. They want a different government, different policies, renewed parties, and dialogue between their leaders… and this is what we are ready to provide.”

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Shortly after voting closed, Chega's leader, Andrej Ventura, made a statement calling for the country to be governed by “all right-wing parties”, but Montenegro included in his speech that it would not get involved with the anti-right wing. This is what he defended during his election campaign.

Another possibility for forming a new government is an agreement between the Democratic Action Party and the Socialist Party. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is scheduled to hold consultations this week with leaders of all parties to develop a proposal for Montenegro.

The division of the Portuguese Parliament opens another future option: holding new elections at the end of the year. The Portuguese Constitution stipulates that six months must pass before new elections are called, and this can only happen 55 days after this specified date.

Montenegro and its government will take office in Parliament next month, but the next steps regarding Portuguese policy remain undetermined.

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