Portugal’s Political Landscape: Newly Elected Parliament Fails to Elect President, Uncertainty Reigns

Portugal’s Parliament Speaker Election Ends in Failure

Portugal’s newly elected parliament faced a third unsuccessful attempt at electing a President at its constitutive meeting on March 10th. Despite all candidates failing to secure the necessary absolute majority of 116 votes, even in the final round of voting, MPs will reconvene on Wednesday to try again with the possibility for parties to nominate new candidates. This challenging tone sets the stage for Portugal’s new Prime Minister, 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. The AD only holds 80 out of 230 seats in the new parliament while 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 that a “grand coalition” between conservatives and socialists is unlikely and Montenegro refuses to collaborate with Chega, governing is expected to be challenging. If Montenegro fails to secure a majority in the upcoming parliamentary vote on his government program, another election may be necessary. As Montenegro prepares to present his cabinet on Thursday and the new government officially takes office on April 2nd, Portugal’s political landscape remains uncertain.

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