Poll looks promising for PM Costa
Press agency dpa-international reports from mainland Portugal that Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa can hope to win an absolute majority of seats in parliament for the first time in the new elections on January 30.
According to a survey published on Thursday by the Catholic University in Lisbon, 39 per cent of people asked wanted to vote for the Socialist Party (PS), which would bring the PS up to 113 seats. For an absolute majority in parliament, 116 of a total of 230 seats are required.
The Socialists improved by one percentage point compared to the last poll in early January. Its closest rival, the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) of leading candidate Rui Rio, fell from 32 to 30 per cent. The Marxist Left Bloc (BE) and the right-wing populists of Chega follow at a large distance, each with 6 per cent. The poll was commissioned by the state TV channel RTP and the renowned newspaper Publico and is considered very reliable.
Costa has ruled with a minority of seats in parliament since 2015. In the last election in autumn 2019, his party, which is more social democratic than socialist, received 36.3 per cent and won 108 seats. In previous years, the PS had been supported by parties further to the left. In the vote on the draft budget for 2022, however, these parties, as well as the conservative opposition, voted unanimously against it at the beginning of November. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, therefore, called new elections.
The Left Bloc BE, the Communists (PCP) and the Greens (PEV) had demanded, among other things, more social spending in the 2022 budget with a view to the billions of euros in coronavirus aid from the EU. Costa, however, did not want to give up his restrained spending policy.
With three weeks to go before the legislative elections, Portugal is already in pre-campaign mode with debates between the candidates and amid growing concern over the escalation of the pandemic, which could trigger abstention. Although the official campaign only begins next Sunday, the country has already entered the countdown to the polls and in the last week, fifteen two-way debates between candidates have been televised, which have served to define positions before an election with an uncertain outcome.