Antonio Costa’s Socialists win Portuguese election

The incumbent Socialist Party managed to benefit from the country’s growing economy. Portugal is one of the few European countries where right-wing populists remain insignificant.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s Socialists (PS) came out on top of parliamentary elections held Sunday in Portugal, winning 36.5% of the vote. The party managed to expand its number of mandates in the 230-seat parliament but fell short of winning an absolute majority. Costa has announced his plan to continue heading a minority government.

Costa, a 58-year-old trained lawyer, declared victory, saying “we accept the task of ruling Portugal for the next four years with determination and responsibility.”

The main opposition party, the Social Democrat PSD fell from 89 to 77 seats. Right-wing populists managed to win one seat in parliament — a first in a country where right-wing populist parties play no significant role.

Costa, a former mayor of Lisbon, will need to seek support from other parties.

Over the previous legislative period, PS had been supported by the Marxist Left Bloc (BE) and the Green-Communist alliance, without a formal coalition agreement.

Portugal has been back on its feet economically since 2014 after accepting a bailout three years prior in the wake of the global financial crisis. A tourism boom has helped unemployment to its lowest levels since 2002. Costa has been lauded for balancing the budget without losing the support of the leftist parties that have propped up his government.


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