PORTUGAL’S governing centre-right coalition has won the country’’ general election, held on Sunday October 4.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho is victorious even after many predictions of his government’s downfall after the country’s eurozone bailout in 2011.
With almost all votes counted, the centre-right leads with just under 37 per cent, with the Socialists on over 32 per cent. Socialist leader Antonio Costa admitted defeat and congratulated the Prime Minister.
However with 99 seats in the 230-seat parliament, the ruling coalition is at present 17 seats short of the number needed to maintain its absolute majority in parliament.
Voters “gambled on safety, but may find themselves with a government of limited lifespan,” the daily Diario Economico said.
“We will have a government that has to balance austerity, which is still necessary, and the compromises that it will have to accept in parliament,2 the Jornal de Negocios said.
Mr Passos Coelho indicated that he was ready to talk to other parties in the next parliament to pursue the “necessary reforms” he wants to implement.
“Times haven’t been easy, and the times ahead will be challenging,” he said, promising to talk to the Socialists with the goal of reducing the public debt.
Parties to the left of the Socialists achieved their best-ever result with Left Bloc winning 10 per cent of the vote, securing 19 seats, while the Communists took 8 per cent of the vote.
Jesus Castillo, an economist at Natixis Bank, said “The coming months look particularly complex for the government, which will find it harder than before to maintain the pace of reform.”