Portugal’s Political Polarization: A Challenging Start for New Prime Minister and Government Program

Portugal’s Parliament Speaker Election Ends in Failure

The election of the President of Parliament in Portugal faced a third unsuccessful attempt, highlighting deep political divisions in the newly elected “Assembleia da República” on March 10th. At the constitutive meeting in Lisbon, all candidates failed to secure the necessary absolute majority of 116 votes, even in the final round of voting. This situation sets a challenging tone for the new Prime Minister of Portugal, Luis Montenegro, who leads the conservative alliance Democratic Alliance (AD).

Montenegro’s candidate for President of Parliament, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, came in second in the third vote with 88 votes, trailing behind Francisco Assis of the Socialist Party PS who received 90 votes. Despite winning the most votes in the recent election and assuming the role of Prime Minister after defeating long-standing socialists, Montenegro only holds 80 out of 230 seats in the new parliament. The PS lost 42 seats and now has 78 MPs. The rise of right-wing populist party Chega, led by André Ventura, with over 50 seats adds further complexity to governing.

Given Montenegro’s refusal to collaborate with Chega and his failure to secure a majority for his government program during his first attempt at forming government after winning re-elections last year, governing is expected to be challenging. If Montenegro fails again to secure a majority in this upcoming parliamentary vote on his government program, another election looms. As Montenegro prepares to present his cabinet on Thursday and take office as Prime Minister on April 2nd

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