Socialists win Portugal general election – António Costa secures second term
Portuguese Socialist Party Prime Minister António Costa won a comfortable victory in Sunday’s general election.
The Socialists won the election partly because Portugal’s economy, with 2.1% GDP growth, is doing better than many of its EU competitors.
Portuguese exports have increased by 1.3% to a record €5.83Bn while record tourist numbers saw the amount of visitors holidaying in Portugal hit 21 million last year (more than the country’s population) and is expected to remain around the same this year. Tourism now represents around 12-13% of the economy.
Foreign direct investment from multinationals and investment in property and from property funds has also skyrocketed over the past three years with a 20% year-on-year increase in the latter, netting around €4Bn annually while jobless figures have plummeted 50% since the last election to just 6%.
Beating the centre-right PSD opposition party led by former Porto mayor Rui Rio, he told a rapturous party faithful that the Portuguese seemed to like his party governing in a ‘Geringonça’ or jalopy referring to governing with the support of the far-left Bloco Esquerda party led by Catarina Martins.
“The Portuguese like our jalopy. Let’s see if it’s possible” he told cheering supporters at a central Lisbon hotel.
Now the prime minister will have to negotiate with one or both of his far-left allies although he said he would also hold discussions with the PAN party (People-Animals-Nature) which has been widely lampooned by the press and political commentators for having a lack of cohesive and realistic policies.
Rui Rio’s PSD party came in second with 28% of the vote, garnering them 77 sets while some of the plethora of smaller parties such as the ECR – Chega (National Conservatives) and LIVRE (Greens/EFA) won seats for the first time.
The opposition party PSD, which may soon be looking for a new leader, said the Socialists had continued in power because of “favourable external economic circumstances”.
The PS bagged 106 seats (+20 on 2015), the PSD netted 77 sets (-25 on 2015), the Bloco Esquerda won 19 seats (no change on 2015) while PAN got four seats (+3 on 2015). The Portuguese Communist Party PCP lost five seats to retain 12 in the Portuguese Parliament.