Portugal Political Overview
After the general elections, the Socialist Party (PS) leader António Costa was appointed PM on 24th November 2015. However his “left-center” Government, who has the support in Parliament of the Communists (PCP) and the Left Bloc (BE, kind of Portuguese Syriza), is likely to face medium-term instability.
While Socialists, (PS), who won 32,3% of the votes, are pro-Europe, pro –euro and pro-NATO, both communists (PCP) and Bloquists (BE), who won 18,4% of votes between them, are Euroskeptists and against all these issues. That’s why there is not a really left-wing coalition, but only a punctual support, which suggests that the Portuguese political situation will be highly unstable for the foreseeable future.
Knowing that his government is based on this weak collaboration, PM António Costa is not going “by the book” in these first days of governance.
In any normal cycle, governments tend to present their most unpopular measures at the beginning, and only later on, try to announce some “good news”.
António Costa is doing exactly the opposite, announcing several popular measures in all areas, along these two months as PM, hoping to get some support in Parliament from the Left parties when his government will have to take some difficult measures, in the second quarter, due to the external pressure of EU Institutions.
At this moment, Portugal had its Presidential Elections, on 24th January, having Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (a Social Democrat) won by 52%. He will take office only on March 9th, but has already announced that he is willing to work closely with the Socialist Government.
Anyhow the results of this election may turn out to be a critical moment for Portugal’s political future because, in the likely event of another fractioned assembly, the new President will have the power to decide whether norms are meant to be broken.
In the ceremony where his Government took office, Prime Minister António Costa said that the new Portuguese Government action “will be moderated, being an alternative to austerity; But it has to be a realistic alternative, careful and prudent, which will prosecute the stability concerning all the strategic options made along these last years”.
As though, the main goal of any good governance is ensuring public finances balance; and to do so his Government will continue to reduce budget deficit and public debt during his legislature.
Our analysts foresees that at that moment the collaboration with the parties at his left will fall, and Portugal might face its first political crisis before the end of this year.
From a pessimistic point of view, if the government falls, there will be new elections during this year of 2016. If this happen, António Costa and the Socialist party, might very well win these elections with a clear majority (with no need of PCP and BE support anymore).
President of Omniconsul