Socialists Sweep to Victory in Portugal, Vow Big Spending Increases
LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Portugal’s center-left Socialist Party won a third straight general election Sunday, returning it to power as the country prepares to deploy billions of euros (dollars) of European Union aid for the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a ballot that took place amid a surge of coronavirus cases blamed on the omicron variant, and with around 1 million infected voters allowed to leave home to cast their ballots, the Socialists elected at least 112 lawmakers in the 230-seat parliament.
With 98.7% of votes counted, the Socialists had 41%, compared with 28% for their main rival, the center-right Social Democratic Party, which took at least 68 parliamentary seats. Eighteen seats remained to be allocated.
It was unclear whether the Socialists would reach 116 lawmakers, allowing it to enact legislation alone, or whether it would fall short of that number and need to cut deals for the support of smaller parties. Late results could come Monday.
Socialist leader António Costa, expected to return to his post as prime minister, immediately offered an olive branch to his adversaries. He said he would encourage alliances with other parties in parliament to overcome the country´s pandemic-inspired economic difficulties.
“The mission is to turn the page on the pandemic and bring affected sectors back to life,” Costa said in a victory speech.