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Parliament Speaker Election in Portugal Unsuccessful

The election of the President of Parliament in Portugal failed at the third attempt, highlighting deep political divisions among newly elected members of the “Assembleia da Republica” on March 10th. Despite all candidates falling short of the necessary absolute majority of 116 votes, even in the final round of voting, MPs will reconvene to try again, allowing parties to nominate new candidates.

The new Prime Minister, Luis Montenegro of the Democratic Alliance, faces a challenging term ahead. His candidate for President of Parliament, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, came in second place in the third vote, behind Francisco Assis of the Socialist Party.

Montenegro was appointed head of government by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa after his alliance won the most votes in the election. The Socialists, who have been in power for eight years, narrowly missed their own majority. The government is set to take office on April 2nd. With the Democratic Alliance holding 80 seats and the Socialists with 78 seats in the new parliament, governing is expected to be difficult. The right-wing populist party Chega, led by André Ventura, gained over 50 seats as well.

Given that a coalition between conservatives and socialists is unlikely and Montenegro rejects working with Chega, governing may be even more complex. Failure to secure a majority in parliament’s vote on government programs could lead to another election. Ultimately, Portugal’s political landscape remains uncertain as parties navigate these challenges while forming a government.

By Samantha Jones

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