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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Socialists set to keep power in Portugal after snap general election

Portugal’s Socialist Party is projected to hold power following Sunday’s snap general election, with exit polls showing the party holds a healthy lead despite predictions of a close race. 

Exit polls showed that the Socialist Party had between 37 percent and 42.5 percent support, which far eclipsed that of the main center-right opposition Social Democrats, at 26.7 percent to 35 percent, according to Reuters.

The results differ from predictions, which foresaw a close race due to increased support for the Social Democrats, according to Politico.

The far-right Chega party is currently in third place, according to Reuters, but the moderate Liberal Initiative is not far behind. Reuters references polls published by the television channels SIC, RTP and TVI, which are the main stations in the country.

Turnout in the snap general election exceeded expectations despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s government announced on Wednesday that individuals with the virus would be permitted to exit isolation to cast ballots in the race.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Portugal, according to the World Health Organization. The country reported more than 65,000 new infections on Thursday.

The early vote results sparked excitement in Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s election headquarters, according to Reuters.

Costa’s administration has indicated it is unwilling to enter a coalition with Chega. 

“It seems clear the PS will win,” Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told RTP, per Politico. “We will open dialogue with all parties, except one, and will take our responsibilities to form a stable government.”

Socialists have ruled in Portugal in a minority government since 2015, along with the Left Bloc and the Communists, according to Politico. In October, however, the far left opposed Costa and voted against the government’s 2022 budget, which triggered Sunday’s election.

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