Monday, May 16

The technical tie in the polls between the right and the left in Portugal changes the tone of the elections

A possible technical tie between the Socialist Party (PS) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) has turned the final stretch of the campaign in Portugal, where the right is increasingly closer to forming a government in less than a week of the legislative ones.

Keys to the political crisis in Portugal: “The leftist agreement responded to very specific circumstances that no longer exist”

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This Tuesday, a survey carried out by Aximage has given a technical tie to the left and the right, with the conservative leader Rui Rio (PSD) receiving 34.4% in voting intention and surpassing for the first time the socialist António Costa, who drops to 33.8%.

The right-wing formations would add up to 46.8%, half a point more than the total of the left-wing parties -according to the survey prepared for several Portuguese media-, which contrasts with what was registered in the first week of January, when Costa reached 38.1% and Rio had almost six points less.

This has forced the socialist candidate and prime minister, António Costa, to radically change his campaign, abandon his call for an absolute majority and open up to leftist coalitions. Costa has recognized this Tuesday that “it seems that the Portuguese do not like” the absolute majority, after falling in the polls.

In an interview granted to the public radio station “Antena 1”, the socialist candidate has defended that if the Portuguese give him the victory “he will build solutions”, but he has avoided advancing if possible a new “jargon” with the left: “It is not time for speculation”, he said. In 2019, Costa won the minority elections and chose to govern alone in a legislature that broke up on October 27, after the rejection of the Budget in Parliament.

Nor has he wanted to give the polls as totally certain, alleging that the results are not guaranteed until the votes are counted, for which reason he is constantly asking his supporters to vote.

The right celebrates

The right sees its victory with a pact between the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the CDS-Popular Party increasingly likely. Meanwhile, the far-right Chega party promises to gain ground despite the fact that there are few who want to agree openly with this political force, although they have not drawn any red lines. According to the survey, it would be the third most voted force with 8%, but with one point less than the last survey.

It has been an almost predicted tie, since the practically daily polls broadcast in Portugal were showing how the PSD was gaining ground in the intention to vote, which has made the messages from the right to monopolize the vote more and more aggressive.

This Tuesday, the conservative candidate assured that Costa is “on the verge of losing the elections” and has asked him to “lose with dignity”. “I hope that he takes advantage of the last days so that, in the event that he loses, which is likely, that he loses with dignity. That he does not go here now to intimidate people,” Rio defended in statements to journalists after an act in Beja .

In addition, he has criticized that there may be a new “jargon” between the Socialist Party, the Bloco de Esquerda and the communists, since the lack of support from these forces to approve the 2022 Budget generated these early elections.


The two main left-wing formations have also fallen in the latest poll. The Bloco de Esquerda (BE) has dropped eight tenths to 6.6% and the CDU coalition of the Communist Party and the Greens have fallen three tenths to 4.5%. Catarina Martins, from the BE, has called for participation and stated that “if the left votes, surely the right will not be the government.”

Meanwhile, nearly 400 people have signed a manifesto, joined by figures such as writers António Lobo Antunes and João de Melo, in support of the socialist leader in the January 30 elections. For the signatories, the political crisis opened by the rejection of the 2022 Budgets was “unnecessary, expendable and dangerous”, especially in the context of a pandemic, according to the newspaper “Expresso”.

“Let’s try to make the next legislative elections a great opportunity to avoid a repetition of what has happened now, generating stable and lasting solutions with our vote, creating conditions to face difficulties and do what is urgent, without further delay or waste of time”, have argued in the text.

In total, in these elections there are 10.8 million Portuguese called to the polls, although the high abstention figures registered in previous elections (even reaching 60% in the 2021 presidential elections) cast doubt on the levels of participation, as well as the undecided, who are around 30%.

Last Sunday, January 23, it was possible to exercise early voting, which was requested by nearly 300,000 Portuguese and which registered a participation of more than 85% in Lisbon and Porto.