Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party has gained a surprise overall majority in the country’s quick general election on Sunday, only the second time in the country’s modern history.
It was declared that an election will be held when Prime Minister António Costa failed to pass a budget after losing the support of two smaller political parties.
Mr. Costa stated that stability was required in Portugal in order to achieve economic recovery.
A far-right political party Also gaining ground, Chega is poised to become the third-largest political party in the country’s legislature.
After polls predicted that the Socialist Party had lost most of its lead in the run-up to the election, the outcome came as a complete surprise to many.
In his victory address, the prime minister stated that he will govern for the benefit of all citizens.
“It is not true that an absolute majority equates to absolute authority. It does not imply that one person is in charge. It entails a greater level of responsibility.”
The Socialist Party won 117 seats in the 230-seat parliament, an increase over the 108 seats it held in the previous assembly. The Social Democrats, the biggest center-right opposition party, gained 71 seats.
The Socialists’ victory means that Portugal will most likely have a stable government to guide the country out of the crisis and handle a €16.6 billion ($18.7 billion) package of EU recovery money, according to the Associated Press.
Far-right Chega will be the third largest party in parliament for the first time, having won 12 seats in the recent elections to the chamber.
Its leader, André Ventura, a former television sports pundit, made headlines by raging against corruption and the Roma community, as well as by asking for chemical castration for sex criminals.
Ventura welcomed the outcome of Sunday’s election as signalling the end of “soft” opposition to the Socialist Party.
When asked whether he would be willing to form a government, Mr Costa stated that if the president of Portugal asked him to do so, he would be ready to negotiation with all political forces, with the exception of Chega.
During the election, it was projected that more than a tenth of Portugal’s 10 million citizens were feeling isolated as a result of Covid-19, but the government permitted them to cast their votes in person. To welcome them, election officials were outfitted in protective gear.