Portugal election polls: Could Portugals Socialists win again?

Merkel 'never stood up for a vision of Europe' says expert

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Portugal has become the first country to hold a general election in 2022, as locals vote to elect a new Prime Minister in a snap race. Early voting commenced on Sunday, January 23, allowing the 300,000 registered people to cast their ballots. The race will decide whether socialist incumbent PM Antonio Costa can survive a fatal blow dealt to his 2022 budget by once allied far-left groups.

Could Portugal’s socialists hold on to power?

Mr Costa’s platform was wounded after both the Communist and Left Bloc parties voted down his budget in November 2021.

The defeat marked the first time Portuguese lawmakers have failed to pass a budget since 1974.

And it came with added significance last year, as the package would have set out how the country hoped to spend a vital Covid recovery package from the EU.

The situation forced President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to call in a snap election.

He announced the coming race on November 4, making it the third since the Covid pandemic started. 

Mr Costa now requires 116 seats to establish a majority, eight more than the 108 he won during the last election in 2019.

Recent data shows the Socialist Party has encountered growing resistance, however.

A poll of polls compiled by Portuguese radio station Rádio Renascença found that the centre-right is making gains.

The station gave the Socialists a 38 percent lead, with the Social Democratic Party on 30 percent – which would take away the Socialists’ working majority in parliament.

At the same time, Portugal’s fledgling far-right movement could see gains.

Chega, which entered the Portuguese parliament for the first time in 2019, is a steadily growing presence.

Early polls show it could attract support from seven percent of the electorate, making it the third-biggest party in the 230-seat parliament.

Covid cases in Portugal have complicated the occasion, as the country is still in the throes of its Omicron outbreak.

Infections have crept up since December, currently reaching past 45,000 per day.

Estimations have 600,000 people in quarantine at present, with early voting reserved for those able to leave their homes.

More than 300,000 people have signed up so far, in an exercise Mr Costa has declared “the most important moment of democracy”.

They cast their votes one week before the rest of the Portuguese population. 

The rest of the country will have the chance to pass their ballots by January 30. 

The race will become the third since 2021, when the Government also held presidential and local elections. 

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