June 14. 2024. 1:44

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Portugal’s socialists liberals defeat far-right in EU elections


The Portuguese centre-right party (S&D) and the Liberal party (Renew) were the winners of Sunday’s European elections in Portugal, which, unlike most other EU countries, saw the defeat of the far-right Chega party (ID).

While the Portuguese electorate voted for the Socialist Party, taking 11 of the 18 districts and outperforming the Democratic Alliance (PSD-CDS-PPM, EPP), which won the general elections three months ago, the party won eight of Portugal’s 21 MEP seats, losing one seat compared to 2019 despite winning more votes overall.

However, the Socialists won by the narrowest of margins over the AD (less than 40,000 votes and one percentage point), which does not give them any hope of returning to power in the short term following a hypothetical political crisis caused by the rejection of the state budget for 2025.

“The PS has won these elections and is now the leading political force in Portugal,” declared PS Secretary General Pedro Nuno Santos.

The other winner of the European elections, the Liberal Initiative, will debut in the European Parliament with two MEPs, after receiving more than 357,000 votes and almost doubling its vote share from the March parliamentary elections (9% against 4.9%).

The biggest loser on election night was the far-right Chega party, which, after scoring 18% in the legislative elections three months ago, fell to 9.8%, failing to achieve the electoral victory its leader, André Ventura, had repeatedly promised during the campaign.

Overall, the European elections were also marked by a drop in the abstention rate to around 63%, six percentage points lower than in 2019. This was helped by the possibility of mobile voting, which allowed voters to cast their ballot at a polling station of their choice at home or abroad.

Potential EU opening for former prime minister

Some expect that the European elections will pave the way to former prime minister António Costa being elected President of the European Council, a post that should go to a social democrat, though he has not yet declared interest in the position.

That has not stopped Portuguese Prime Minister Luís Montenegro from declaring support for the idea: “If Dr António Costa is a candidate for this post, the DA and the Portuguese government will not only support him but will do everything to ensure that his candidacy is successful.”

(José Pedro Santos, Sara Madeira | Lusa, Barbara Machado | Euractiv.com)

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