Portugal: Historic election defeat for right wing parties

The parties of the right wing coalition that ruled Portugal over the last two years suffered a big defeat in today’s elections.

The Socialist Party (PS) came to power in Portugal last weekend, winning its biggest ever parliamentary majority, with 119 out of 230 seats. This is the largest Socialist Party election gains since the 1974 revolution overthrew a right wing dictatorship. Polling turn-out, at 10 million, was an increase from elections in 2003.
The results represent a massive rejection of the right wing government of Pedro Santana Lopez, which held power for only seven months.
Significantly, parties viewed as to the left of the pro-capitalist Socialist Party also did well. The Left Bloc increased its share of seats, from 3 to 8, and the Communist Party/Green Party coalition went from 13 to 14 seats.
The elections were called after President Jorge Sampaio dissolved parliament early last December, saying there was no confidence in the government. This followed Jose Manuel Durao Barroso’s decision to step down as Portuguese prime minister to become president of the European Commission.
Many working people and youth desperately hope that the Socialist Party’s large mandate will lead to an improvement in their living standards. But the new government, under the "moderate leadership" of Socrates, only promises ‘reforms’ i.e. more neo-liberal policies. These include a stated intention to ‘modernise’ the economy.
Francisco Raposo, from Alternativa Socialista (cwi in Portugal), comments on the election results. socialistworld.net.

Historic election defeat for right wing parties

The elections saw the biggest turn out (65% voters) since the 1974 Portuguese Revolution. The vast majority of voters rejected the last 2 years of vicious neo-liberal policies carried out by the coalition of the Liberals (PPD/PSD) and Conservatives (CDS-PP).

All the left parties grew, both in total votes and by their number of MPs.

The PS (Socialist Party) got a solid majority of 119 MPs, and therefore the party’s General Secretary, José Sócrates, will be the next prime minister. But the Communist Party/Green Party coalition also increased its MPs. Going from 13 to 14 seats; the Left Bloc won a spectacular increase in votes, and jumped from 3 to 8 MPs".

National results

  votes % MPs
PS (Socialist Party) 2,571,245 45.03 119
PPD/PSD (Liberals and former governing party) 1,638,597 28.7 73
PCP-PEV (Communist/Green coalition) 432,135 7.57 14
CDS-PP (Conservatives and the former minor governing party ) 414,833 7.27 12
B.E. (radical left) 364,264 6.38 8


In the next few days, Aletrantia Socialista members will write further analysis of the elections, perspectives for the new PS government, and comment on what the gains of the Communist/Greens and Left Bloc means for workers and youth.

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February 2005