Socialists back in Portugal

Very much as expected in yesterday’s Portuguese election (official results here). The governing Socialists led the field with 38.3% of the vote and 106 of the 226 seats so far decided, up 4.7% and 21 seats from 2015.* The two centre-right opposition parties between them have 33.6% (down 6.4%) and 82 seats (down 22).

Again holding the balance of power are the two far left parties that have supported the Socialists for the last term. The Left Block was unchanged on 19 seats and the Unitary Democratic Coalition lost five seats, taking it to 12.

Another four parties won seats: People-Animals-Nature went from one seat to four, and three new entrants – far right, liberals and Greens – won a single seat each (there are also Greens in the Unitary Democratic Coalition). Mathematically, however, it’s unlikely that any of them could affect the composition of a majority.

Prime minister António Costa will try to renegotiate his governing agreement with the two far left parties, a task made easier by the fact that he now needs the support of only one of them (or, at a pinch, just the abstention of the Left Block), rather than both, for a majority.

So far even the media do not seem to have been able to make a fuss about the success of the new far right party Chega (“Enough”), which managed 1.4% and one seat. Portugal, which was governed by the far right until 1974, remains distinctive in its determination not to revisit that era.

 

* The four seats representing overseas Portuguese are still outstanding. Note that the Portuguese electoral commission doesn’t factor out the informals from the vote totals (I hadn’t realised this when I wrote my preview on Friday), so the reported figures will be slightly lower than those given here.

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