Portugal’s Political Landscape Faces Uncertainty as Parliament Election Deadlocked in Third Attempt

Portugal’s Parliament Speaker Election Ends in Failure

The election of the President of Parliament in Portugal faced a third unsuccessful attempt on March 10th, highlighting deep political divisions within the newly elected “Assembleia da República”. Despite all candidates failing to secure an absolute majority of 116 votes, even in the final round of voting, MPs will reconvene on Wednesday to try again, with the possibility for parties to nominate new candidates. This situation sets a challenging tone for the new Prime Minister of Portugal, Luis Montenegro, who leads the conservative alliance Democratic Alliance (AD).

Montenegro’s candidate for President of Parliament, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, came in second in the third vote with 88 votes, trailing behind Francisco Assis of the Socialist Party PS who received 90 votes. Despite winning the most votes in the recent election and assuming the role of Prime Minister after narrowly defeating long-standing socialists, Montenegro’s alliance only holds 80 out of 230 seats in the new parliament. Meanwhile, Chega, a right-wing populist party led by André Ventura with over 50 seats adds further complexity to governing.

Given that a “grand coalition” between conservatives and socialists is unlikely and Montenegro refuses to collaborate with Chega, governing is expected to be challenging. If Montenegro fails to secure a majority in the upcoming parliamentary vote on his government program, another election may loom. As Montenegro prepares to present his cabinet on Thursday and officially takes office on April 2nd, uncertainty remains on Portugal’s political landscape.

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