Elections to the Portuguese parliament will be held today, with 230 lawmakers to be elected for four-year terms. The ruling
Elections to the Portuguese parliament will be held today, with 230 lawmakers to be elected for four-year terms.
The ruling centre-left Socialist Party (PS) and its leader Antonio Costa are expected to stay in power. His major competition is from the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD).
Portugal’s current national debt—120% of GDP—is the centrepiece of Costa’s campaign. He has promised to lower the debt to 100% of GDP by 2023. In so doing, he has signalled a reliance on continued export growth—which accounted for more than 40% of total growth in 2018—to improve Portugal’s finances.
Current opinion polls favour PS over PSD 38% to 26%. However, it remains to be seen whether Costa will win an absolute majority or have to enter a coalition with his left-wing supporters, as occurred in 2015.
Under Costa’s premiership, unemployment has fallen to 6.7% and the budget deficit to 0.5% (the lowest level in 45 years), at the cost of cuts to infrastructure and healthcare spending. A coalition government would thus likely be contentious if Costa’s restrictive public spending policies clash with the left’s support for higher investment.