After meeting on Saturday and Sunday with the main political parties, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa confirmed their agreement to hold early parliamentary elections. The latter should address the nation on Thursday, in order to provide the framework for the ballot which should take place at the end of January. The day before, the president will have consulted the members of the Council of State on the date of publication of the decree dissolving Parliament, which could take ” some time “, warned Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The objective is to give the deputies time to vote on a certain number of bills before dissolution. “From the moment the president issues the decree, elections must take place within 60 days. Antonio Costa (the prime minister – Editor’s note) would remain at the head of an interim government until after the elections ”, explains the daily Diario de Noticias.
End of the alliance
It is therefore the end of the union of the left, nicknamed the “Gerinçonça”, started in 2015 and which began a second term in 2019 around Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa. The Communist Party (PCP) and the Left Bloc (BE) did not wish to continue this alliance. At the end of October, the two formations did not support the draft budget for 2022, presented by the Costa government too focused on austerity and without taking into account the fall in wages, low pensions and the need for investment in public services. In view of the elections, no alliance now seems possible between Antonio Costa, the PCP and the BE. For university professor José Neves, “The PS reigned in the minority” and the political forces that supported him did so “Without asking for government posts in return – only concrete policies and measures which in many fundamental respects have gone unfulfilled”.
Antonio Costa, who has no intention of resigning, will therefore lead a transitional government until early elections are called. Several personalities of the left are wondering, like Catarina Martins, the leader of BE, if the Prime Minister did not take the risky bet in this political crisis of “To win the absolute majority” at the end of the ballot. “It is difficult to see how an election will clarify things, rather than make the situation even more unstable and volatile”, reacted Francisco Pereira Coutinho, professor at the Universidade Nova in Lisbon, at Financial Times. Because the result could hold some surprises, starting with the score of the far-right team Chega.