Spread the love

Start of elections in Portugal, which can swing to the right

The Portuguese began to attack. &agrav; vote on Sunday for legislative elections the outcome of which the center-right opposition hopes to materialize its slight advance in the polls, after eight years of socialist government, but risks having to deal with growing populists.

Three months before the European elections, these elections in Portugal could confirm that the extreme right is on the rise across the Old Continent, as Italian and Dutch voters have shown.< /p>

The Iberian country was one of the few in Europe to be led by the left when outgoing Prime Minister Antonio Costa, 62, resigned at the beginning of November and gave up running for a new mandate afterwards. having been cited in an investigation for influence peddling.

Polling stations opened at 8:00 a.m. (local and GMT) and several projections of the results, based on polls made at the exit of the polls, will be broadcast by local media at 8:00 p.m.

The official results of the vote, in which some 10.8 million voters in Portugal and abroad are expected to participate, will be announced in the evening, as the ballots are counted.

Start of elections in Portugal, which can swing to the right

Luis Montenegro, leader of the Democratic Alliance, during a campaign meeting, March 8, 2024 in Lisbon © AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

With just over 30% of voting intentions, the center-right Democratic Alliance (AD) led by Luis Montenegro, 51, was leading the polls as the vote approached, with a slim lead over the Socialist Party (PS), who grouped around Pedro Nuno Santos, 46 years old.

– Risk of impasse –

< p>Third political force since the legislative elections of January 2022, which the PS won with an absolute majority, the anti-system Chega (Enough) party led by André Ventura, 41, could more than double its score from the last elections and obtain 15 to 20% of the votes.

Start of elections in Portugal, which can swing to the right

The outgoing Portuguese Parliament © AFP – Vincent LEFAI, Jean-Michel CORNU

According to pre-electoral surveys, which still counted many undecided people, the entire right (made up of the AD, Chega and the Liberal Initiative) should be in the majority in the next Parliament.

But Luis Montenegro, a long-time deputy and then head of the parliamentary group, has already ruled out forming a government with the support of the far right, at the risk of causing an impasse if he does not reach a majority of the 230 seats. even by allying with the liberals.

“Don't worry. First, stability will be given to us by the Portuguese people. Then, it's us , with our performance, who will guarantee it”, he wanted to reassure on Friday, during his last meeting.

Start of elections in Portugal, which can swing to the right

Pedro Nuno Santos, leader of the Socialist Party of Portugal, takes part in a rally on March 8, 2024 in Lisbon © AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

His main opponent, the socialist Pedro Nuno Santos, for his part recalled throughout the campaign that the right, during its last spell in power, between 2011 and 2015, had applied a severe cure budgetary austerity.

– Tarnished balance sheet –

“When there is a crisis, we already know that it is salaries and pensions that they are attacking,” insisted this former minister from the left wing of the PS.

Third man in this electoral race, the populist André Ventura affirmed for his part that the two major parties of the center, which have shared power since the advent of democracy in Portugal, just 50 years ago, “are not two sides of the same coin”.

Start of elections in Portugal, which can swing to the right

André Ventura, leader of the far-right Chega party, greets young supporters, February 20, 2024 in Lisbon © AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

“One cannot succeed the other. For change, it is Chega that we need”, proclaimed this law professor and former football commentator, known for his attacks xenophobic attacks against the Gypsy minority.

Despite the consolidation of public finances, growth above the European average and unemployment at its lowest, the The socialist government's record is tarnished by inflation, dysfunctional health services and schools, as well as a major housing crisis.

This has resulted in added a series of corruption scandals, which ultimately brought down Antonio Costa, and a doubling of the immigrant population in the space of five years, two promising themes for the far right.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116