Exclusive: Poll shows Portuguese voters back early elections amid government corruption scandal

A Portuguese flag flies in front of the Parliament in Lisbon on November 7, 2023.
A Portuguese flag flies in front of the Parliament in Lisbon on November 7, 2023. Copyright PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP\
By Euronews
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Portuguese voters will head to the polls on 10 March to vote in early elections triggered by a government corruption scandal.

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In early November, Prime Minister Antonio Costa surprised Portugal with his resignation, which was quickly followed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa dissolving the parliament. 

The government had become embroiled in a corruption investigation, which created a climate of uncertainty for the country's economy and institutions. 

Euronews conducted an exclusive survey, in partnership with Portuguese media Jornal Sol, and found that an overwhelming majority of respondents (78%) support Costa's decision to step down. 

83% also feel Rebelo de Sousa was correct to trigger an early election, given the circumstances. 

Our poll shows the Social Democratic Party is so far leading the race, with some 22% intending to vote for the opposition party.

The Socialists would come second, with 19.5% of the votes, and the far-right party Chega would consolidate its position as the third biggest block, with almost 13%. 

Public health service a priority among Portuguese voters

However, the recent corruption scandal is not the primary concern among voters. 53% say that, above all, they're preoccupied by the state of the national health service.

The second concern is inflation and the cost of living (38%), followed by housing and education. 

In terms of turnout, Portuguese voters feel the elections are important, with 94.3% of them saying they intend to participate in the ballot. 

Observers in Brussels are closely watching the outcome of the 10 March election. European elections will follow just three months later, and experts say voters' behaviour in Portugal might give a good indication of what to expect.

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