With three-quarters of the votes counted, the partial results for the Portuguese elections indicate that the ruling Socialist Party has won the election (but not outright) with 36.52% of the vote (down from 45.03% at the last elections in 2005). In opposition Manuela Ferreira Leite, the leader of the centre-right Social Democratic Party polled a disappointing 30.37% (as opposed to 28.77% at the last polls).
This means that Jose Socrates and his ruling Socialist Party will probably have to form a coalition government with a smaller party.
It also indicates that the country is not ready for the centre-right message that austerity is the only way forward. Manuela Ferreira Leite has been bitterly opposed to the government’s policy of public spending to counter the economic downturn, in particular the planned high speed train link with Spain.
In third place, the People’s Party (the Centro Democrático e Social – Partido Popular – CDS/PP) are estimated to have polled 10.41% (as opposed to 7.24% last time).
In fourth place, the Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda or BE) are thought to have polled 9.13% as opposed to 6.35% last time.
The Green/Communist alliance the CDU (made up of the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) and the
PEV (Portuguese Ecologist Party aka the Greens) together polled 7.54% in the last polls. This time round, they are estimated to have polled around 7.41%
More than half a million people (ie 9% of the working population) are currently unemployed in Portugal, which is one of the EU’s poorest countries, many people (around a third of the workforce) taking home less than 600 euros a month. This is the highest unemployment rate in 20 years but with turnout at a depressing 60.11 which is the lowest turnout ever recorded in Portugal (down from 64.26% last time) it is clear that the electorate have yet to be convinced that any of their politicians can get the country back to work, let alone solve the long-term economic problems.
Portuguese Elections: partial results