Right-wing coalition party (PSD-CDS) won the 2015 legislative elections. Voters seem to choose continuity, by electing the current government who successfully ended the country’s bail-out period.
The coalition reelection got a 4.5% advantage over the runners-up Partido Socialista. Only this time, unlike the first mandate, left-wing is now the majority in parliament. Portugal has no substantial radical party movement, like in Greece or Spain, but the country short-term political stability can be at risk if the left-wing parties can’t agree on the main issues.
On election day, VIANEWS interviewed Francisco Souselas, a constructor in Lisbon that said he voted for a right-wing party because he doesn’t mind going through some austerity if that means Portugal can become more competitive. To Joana Mendes, a young woman who’s currently unemployed, “the need to protect minorities and job safety” made her choose Bloco de Esquerda, the third most voted party.
The Road Ahead
The Second Mandate Government Achilles Heel
Current government’s “stone in the shoe” is the second mandate left-wing majority in parliament. The next big test could be the 2016 budget vote in Parliament which may not pass. The two stronger parties, (PSD-CDS) coalition and PS (Partido Socialista), are still trying to come to terms with a parliamentary majority group. The remaining left-wing parties (Bloco de Esquerda e PCP) don’t seem to agree entirely with Partido Socialista (the main leftist party) on important issues such as the Euro or NATO. The coalition has already raised questions about the integrity and stability of the left-wing parties parliament coalition.
What are the options towards political stability
- The 2 most voted parties (PSD-CDS) and PS could reach a parliamentary agreement.
- The Socialist Party and the remaining left-wing parties should agree on a common ground so Anibal Cavaco Silva, the country’s president, can accept them to form a stable alternative to government.
- The country will need to go into elections again and vote its next prime minister.
In the odd chance that no understanding is reached until January, the country’s presidency will change.
About the next Portuguese presidential elections
The presidential election will take place on a yet to be defined date somewhere in January 2016. Lots of speculation about the candidates but the so far confirmed ones are Maria de Belém Roseira and António Sampaio da Nóvoa.
Latest unconfirmed rumors point to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa being about to announce his candidacy for the presidential elections, but no official statement has yet been made.
According to the latest “Intercampus” poll, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is the preferred candidate for the presidency with over 49.3% of the voter preference, followed by Maria de Belém Roseira with 17%.
Of all the presidential candidates, the one with more “television face time” is, by far, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Mr. Sousa is a university professor and a respected member of the Portuguese society. He’s an active commentator and political analyst on Sunday night public television. His popularity is extremely high, and he’s likely to win if he runs for the presidency.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is the country has successfully ended its bailout duties, the economy has been slowly but steadily growing, and interest rates have been low (mostly due to Europe’s policy on interest rates).
Portugal, like Ireland, has successfully left its bailout period, but that alone might not be enough in what the political stability is concerned. Stability is vital in the eyes of foreign investors, and market volatility is to be avoided, especially in a not so strong Portuguese economy.