Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party wins absolute majority in early parliamentary elections

Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party (PS) won early parliamentary elections on Sunday, securing an outright majority in parliament, according to exit polls.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa, the leader of the PS, said in his victory speech that they will lead the country for the next four years with 117 or 118 deputies in the 230-seat parliament.

“An absolute majority does not mean absolute power. In a democracy, that does not mean governing alone. I will establish a dialogue with all the political parties representing the Portuguese,” Costa said.

“It’s a triumph of humility, confidence and stability. I have to admit that tonight is very special for me.”

The number of deputies from the Left Bloc fell from 19 to 4 and those from the United Democratic Coalition of the Communist Party and the Alliance of the Greens from 12 to 5.

Meanwhile Rui Rio, 64, the former mayor of Porto who led the Social Democratic Party (PSD), announced he would step down after the PS won an absolute majority.

In addition, the extreme right party Chega (Enough) increased the number of its deputies from one to 11 with 7.15% of the vote.

In addition, the Liberal Initiative party increased the number of its deputies from one to six.

With 99% of the ballot boxes opened by the Ministry of the Interior, the current distribution of seats of 212 seats out of the 230 seats in parliament is as follows: PS 112, Social Democratic Party 68, Chega (Enough) 11, Liberal Initiative 6, the Left Bloc 4, Communist Party and Alliance of the Greens United Democratic Coalition 5, Social Democratic Center 3, Democratic Alliance 2 and Free-Livre 1.

Unexpected participation

In addition, exceeding expectations, turnout in the early general elections increased.

The turnout reached 57%, despite the fact that nearly one million people, or 10% of the country’s population, are under home quarantine due to COVID-19.

Turnout was 48.57% in the last elections held in 2019, which fell to 40% in the January 2021 presidential elections.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is expected to receive the leaders of political parties entering parliament on Tuesday.

The Portuguese voted for the 17th time in the history of democracy after the Carnation Revolution, which ended the dictatorship on April 25, 1974.

The previous distribution of seats in parliament was as follows: Socialist Party (PS) 108 (36.34%), Social Democratic Party 79 (27.76%), Left Bloc 19 (9.52%), Communist Party and Alliance of the Greens Unitary Democratic Coalition 12 (6.33%), Social Democratic Center 5 (4.22%), People, Animals and Nature 4 (3.32%), Chega 1 (1.29%), Liberal Initiative 1 (1.29%) and Free-Livre 1 (1.09%).

The PS, in power since November 2015, was unable to pass the 2022 budget through parliament because it failed to convince the left and the communist parties that supported the minority government from the outside.

A total of 10.8 million voters are registered.

Costa, 60, who served as prime minister for six years, will go down in history as the country’s longest-serving prime minister since the Carnation Revolution.

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