Portugal is moving to the right after more than eight years of socialism | Abroad

Portugal’s Socialist Party has suffered defeat in early elections. The PS was in power for more than eight years and received 42 percent of the votes in the southern European EU member state in 2022.

The elections were necessary after Prime Minister António Costa unexpectedly resigned a corruption scandal in its immediate vicinity. He remained in office as an observer.

The center-right Democratic Alliance (AD) led by top candidate Luis Montenegro will become the largest in the country with about 33 percent of the votes, according to forecasts by state broadcaster RTP. The PS would not get further than 29 percent. The right-wing populist Chega (Enough) is likely to end up with 17 percent, a huge gain compared to the 7 percent in the previous elections.

Difficult to form government

It is expected that it will be very difficult to form a government, now that no party stands out. And neither Montenegro nor the new PS leader Pedro Nuno Santos wants to negotiate with the Chega of former TV sports commentator Andre Ventura.

The parliamentary elections took place in the shadow of corruption scandals at state airline TAP and lithium and hydrogen projects. As a low-wage country, Portugal has also been particularly hard hit by housing shortages and inflation, among other things.

Former TV sports commentator Andre Ventura (center) now leads the right-wing populist Chega (Enough). © ANP / EPA