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Portugal will hold parliamentary elections


Portugal will hold parliamentary elections

Portugal will hold parliamentary elections today. Photo: Pedro Nunes/Reuters

Portugal will hold parliamentary elections today for all 230 seats of the Assembly of the Republic.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called a snap election after the incumbent minority center-left Socialist Party’s budget was rejected in October. Prime Minister Antonio Costa has been fighting for his political life since, amid worsening poll ratings and an inability to rely on the left-wing Left Bloc and Communist parities which underpinned Portugal’s two previous Socialist minority governments.

While neither the Socialists nor the opposition center-right Social Democratic Party are set to secure an outright majority, they are also unlikely to follow the European trend of mainstream parties ceding large vote shares to fringes. Still, polls show that the far-right Chega party may jump from one to 10 seats in the Assembly.

Expect Costa’s Socialist Party to achieve a narrow victory, affording them another minority government. The government has maintained its popularity through its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the low likelihood of a majority means the Socialists will likely face another election before their four-year mandate expires. Further, expect Chega to make gains as it plays on fears stoked by the pandemic, mirroring the rise of right-wing populism in Spain and Italy.

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