The ruling Socialist Party (PS) of Prime Minister António Costa won an absolute majority in Portugal’s parliamentary elections by a surprisingly clear margin, according to official results.
The PS received over 41.6 per cent of the vote and thus won at least 117 seats in the 230-seat parliament, according to the national electoral commission. According to the complicated electoral system, an absolute majority of parliamentary seats was possible with around 41 per cent. In a victory speech in the early hours of Monday, Costa promised “dialogue” and assured that he would “govern for all Portuguese.”
Nearly all polls had predicted a narrow victory for the PS, expecting the party to fall short of the absolute majority and leaving Costa dependent on the support of smaller left-wing parties. The largest opposition party, conservative Social Democratic (PSD) under its leading candidate Rui Rio, received just under 28 per cent of votes, with less than 1 per cent of ballots left to count. Costa, who has been in power since 2015, has led two minority governments with the support of smaller left-wing parties.
In Portugal’s last election in autumn 2019, his party won 36.3 per cent of the vote and took 108 of the total 230 seats in parliament. During the election campaign, Costa had promised to continue his previous policies: he wants to further promote the economy, reduce social inequalities – and at the same time stabilize public finances. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called a new election in early November after parliament rejected the government’s draft 2022 budget when the left-wing parties that had supported Costa’s government for years refused to lend their support.
Demanding more public expenditure, the left-wing bloc BE and the CDU alliance, made up of the communists and the Greens, joined the conservative opposition in voting unanimously against the budget proposal.