LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal started voting on Sunday in an election that Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s Socialists are anticipated to win with out an outright majority, leaving the destiny of potential allies as the primary query.
Individuals have a look at record at a polling station throughout the normal election in Lisbon, Portugal October 6, 2019. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante
Opinion polls point out the Socialists will come high with between 36.5% and 38.eight% of the vote however will want a number of events to again them to remain in authorities. Costa’s minority authorities has been backed by two far-left events since 2015.
“The primary query is whether or not we’ll have our fingers tied,” Costa mentioned throughout a marketing campaign rally on Friday. “We have to have the energy to ensure 4 years of stability and never be a short-term authorities.”
Costa’s authorities has been praised by Brussels and at dwelling for combining fiscal self-discipline with measures to advertise progress after recession and the austerity of Portugal’s 2010-14 debt disaster.
“I’m voting for Costa once more. He’s accomplished nicely for us. He represented the individuals, defended the individuals, and I can solely hope he does extra of the identical if he wins,” 81-year previous Fatima Abreu mentioned at a central Lisbon polling station early on Sunday.
Luis Alberto Lopes Brazao, a 46-year previous homeless man, agreed. “I’m from a poor household and I’m struggling … However I belief this authorities,” he mentioned after voting for the Socialists.
However after a sequence of scandals, from a nepotism row to the alleged involvement of a former minister in a military cover-up of the theft of weapons from a navy base, different voters mentioned it was time for a change.
“The final 4 years weren’t nice for me. It’s the identical because it was in 2009 throughout the disaster,” mentioned 66-year previous rubbish collector Adriano Macedo, who voted for the center-right Social Democrats (PSD), the primary opposition celebration.
“Politicians say that the whole lot is okay however whether it is fantastic it’s only for them … I haven’t acquired a pay rise since 2009.”
The PSD is polling at underneath 30% and is anticipated to lose seats, whereas the Socialists are seen profitable greater than in 2015.
Submit-election negotiations will not be anticipated to be as messy as in neighboring Spain, which nonetheless has no authorities greater than 5 months after elections and is heading for a repeat ballot in November.
In 2015 it took lower than two months for Costa, whose celebration had truly come second, behind the PSD, to strike an surprising alliance with two far-left, Eurosceptic events, the Left Bloc and the Communists and be sworn in as prime minister.
4 years on, the exhausting left is demanding extra public spending and has accused Costa of veering to the precise. Costa has already dominated out a proper coalition however could attempt to renew his governing pact with one of many events or each.
Because the final election, the Individuals-Animals-Nature celebration (PAN) has grown in reputation and will grow to be a kingmaker in parliament. PAN has mentioned it is able to help Costa if he commits to its environmentalist proposals, however it stays to be seen whether or not the celebration will win sufficient new seats.
Voting started at eight a.m. (0700 GMT) and closes at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT). Exit polls are anticipated an hour later and official outcomes will trickle in by the night. Relying on how shut the end result is, a transparent image may emerge shortly or take days and even weeks.
Portugal is anticipated to report its lowest finances deficit in 45 years of democratic historical past this yr. The economic system is heading in the right direction to develop 1.9% in 2019, above the EU common, helped by export progress and a booming tourism business.
Further reporting by Miguel Pereira; Writing by Ingrid Melander and Catarina Demony; Modifying by Catherine Evans