PSD party closes gap with socialists as Portugal goes to vote

 In News

Portugal’s general election campaign is hotting up this week as voters go to the polls on Sunday.

The gap between the caretaker PS socialist government headed by António Costa and conservative PSD opposition party led by Rui Rio is closing according to the latest polls which sees the PS with a voting intention of 37% and the PSD trailing but gaining ground at 32%
It means that whoever wins the election on 30 January will have to horse trade with the half a dozen or so smaller parties in order to form a government.
Portugal is the first country in Europe to hold a general election in 2022. Early voting began on Sunday 23 January when 300,000 registered people can their ballots.
The current Prime Minister António Costa is fighting for his political survival after his odd coalition with the far-left communists and left bloc parties ditched their support over wage and overtime pay and rejected the State Budget for 2022 – the first time a budget was thrown out since the democratic revolution in 1974.
The collapse of the ‘geringonça’ or ‘jalopy’ government was particularly significant on how the country hoped to spend a €16Bn Covid-19 recovery package from the EU.
António Costa requires 116 seats to establish a majority, eight more than the 108 seats he won during the last election in 2019.
However, António Costa is facing pushback from the centre-right conservatives who are closing the gap in the final race for São Bento (the Portuguese official prime minister’s residence).
A poll of polls compiled by the Portuguese radio station Radio Renascena, saw the PS socialist party’s lead being eroded with the possibility that António Costa will loose his working majority in parliament.
At the same time, the far-right Chega party is expected to make gains. Standing on a pro-family, anti-corruption ticket, and infamous for its attitude towards Portugal’s gypsy community, its popularity has been steadily growing in Portugal’s metropolitan and Alentejo regions, but it remains to be seen if a future PSD conservative government will team up with the controversial party.