Portugal: all bets are off in snap election

Portugal will elect a new parliament early on Sunday after the socialist minority government failed to achieve a majority for its 2022 budget. Prime Minister António Costa's Socialists were ahead in the polls but now the liberal-conservative PSD has caught up with them. The far-right Chega party also looks set to make significant gains. Some welcome the open race, others fear chaos.

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Público (PT) /

Already a triumph of democracy

Público is pleasantly surprised by the way the election campaign is going:

“With just a few days to go before the elections no one knows who will win, and that is good for democracy. Uncertainty stimulates debate, and debate encourages participation. What seemed to be a predictable and useless exercise, doomed to repeat the results of 2019, has given way to a lively election campaign with changes in the balance of power between the parties and ideological spheres, new issues under discussion, unknown persons revealing themselves, insecure party leaders trying to hold their ground and confident government members having to fight to maintain their position.”

Observador (PT) /

Don't let it be Costa again

Observador blames the incumbent socialist prime minister for the political instability in the country:

“A big mistake Costa made [in 2019] was stipulating an absolute majority as a condition for stability. So if the Portuguese don't give him one, it means that they don't see him as a factor of stability, but of instability. ... After the elections Portugal will once again be divided between the 'anti-fascist left' and the 'extreme right'. At the beginning of 2022, after a political crisis and in the midst of a pandemic, we are in danger of regressing to 2015, to a solution [a left-wing minority government] that already suffered a setback in 2019 and failed completely in 2021. This is the definition of instability. This is where the greatest danger lies for Portugal after election Sunday. It has a face and its name is António Costa.”