Socialists win shock majority in EU country general election
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has declared victory after his Socialist Party secured 117 seats in the country’s 230-seat Parliament, marking only the second time in history the party has secured an outright majority.
“An absolute majority doesn’t mean absolute power. It doesn’t mean to govern alone. It’s an increased responsibility and it means to govern with and for all Portuguese,” Costa told supporters during his victory speech in the early hours of Monday morning.
The general election was called after Costa lost the support of smaller parties, preventing him from passing a budget. The party’s success comes as a surprise, as polls ahead of the election had shown the Socialist Party had lost support.
The victory means that Costa will have the ability to proceed with implementing a €16.6 billion ($18.7 billion) package of EU recovery funds that has been provided to help steer Portugal out of the Covid pandemic.
Alongside the economic support, Costa has committed to other fiscal policies, including increasing the minimum wage to €900 per month ($1,005) and starting a “national conversation” about moving to a four-day work week.
The snap election also saw increased support for the far-right Chega party, which secured 12 seats and will become the third largest party in parliament for the first time.
Costa has stated that, as prime minister, he will be open to engaging in dialogue with all political parties, except Chega, having taken issue with their political views.