Portuguese voters have dealt Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho a hefty blow in local polls, venting their frustration at his government’s austerity programme.
Despite losing badly in town halls across the country, Coelho vowed not to waiver:
“As PSD president and as prime minister I will continue the direction that we have taken until now which is necessary to overcome the economic crisis and to get back confidence and growth for Portugal,” he said.
The opposition Socialists took many of Portugal’s biggest cities including holding on to the capital Lisbon with a landslide.
Even independent candidates did well with one becoming mayor of the country’s second-largest city Porto, taking the post from the PSD, which came a distant third.
Though local elections have no direct bearing on the makeup of the national government, the ballot reflected the public mood amid a jobless rate of over 16 percent.