THE general election in Portugal on Sunday October 4 will be closely followed by European leaders as it will show whether steep tax rises and spending cuts can triumph in a general election.
According to the latest opinion polls in the run-up to the vote on Sunday, Portugal’s ruling centre-right coalition is likely to win more seats than the main opposition centre-left Socialist Party, despite overseeing a long period of harsh cuts.
The result will be closely watched by other European leaders as it could show whether a government that has imposed unpopular austerity measures as part of a financial bailout can be re-elected.
Portugal’s ruling ‘Portugal Ahead’ (PaF) coalition, made up of the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) and conservative People’s Party (CDS-PP), has been in power since 2011, the year the country requested a financial bailout.
As part of the country’s 78 billion euro ($87.9 billion) bailout from its fellow Eurozone members, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, the government led by incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has had to impose swathes of spending cuts and tax rises.
If the coalition keeps its lead and Coelho is re-elected, he will be the first prime minister to be re-elected among the five euro zone states, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Cyprus and Spain, which received a bank bailout, that required emergency financial help between 2010 and 2013.