LISBON: Portugal’s Socialist Party had little time on Monday to savor its general election victory, as tough negotiations for parliamentary support loomed and the economy braces for leaner times.
The center-left Socialists won Sunday’s general election with 36.6 percent of the vote and are preparing to govern for another four years. The main opposition Social Democratic Party came second with almost 28pc. Portugal, unlike some other European Union nations, has not seen a surge in nationalistic, far-right or populist parties, although one such party earned a seat for the first time.
The Socialists, however, are 10 seats shy of a majority in the 230-seat parliament. To ensure that its legislation is approved, the government will need support from other parties.
A healthy economy, with growth of 2.1 pc last year and unemployment at around 6pc, helped the Socialist Party back into the Sao Bento Palace, the seat of power in Lisbon.
The Socialists have also earned praise around Europe for taming Portugal’s chronic overspending, with Finance Minister Mario Centeno bringing the budget deficit close to zero this year.
Antonio Costa, the Socialist leader and incumbent prime minister, said in his victory speech that he intends to continue his business-friendly policies and prudent fiscal management.
Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2019