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Portugal’s Parliament Reconvenes to Elect President After Initial Vote Fails

In the aftermath of the recent legislative elections in Portugal, the new parliament faced a daunting task in electing its president on Tuesday. The close results of the March 10 vote left a complicated configuration of the chamber, making it challenging to achieve an absolute majority for any candidate.

In the final vote of the day, neither conservative candidate José Pedro Aguiar-Branco nor socialist candidate Francisco Assis was able to secure the 116 votes needed to be elected president. With Aguiar-Branco receiving 88 votes and Assis receiving 90 votes, the temporary president of the Assembly of the Republic, communist Antonio Filipe, announced that they would postpone the session until Wednesday for another attempt. Despite the delays and uncertainty surrounding the election, Filipe lightened things up by joking that he would not be spending his night at the official residence until tomorrow. This prompted laughter from parliamentarians as they began their proceedings at 10:00 a.m. and concluded at 11:00 p.m., with breaks in between as they searched for a leader to lead them through their next term.

The outcome of the legislative elections had resulted in a tight race, with the Democratic Alliance winning 80 seats, the Socialist Party securing 78 seats, and Chega party obtaining 50 seats. As Chega played a key role in potential governing coalitions, leaders from both parties emphasized that they had no intention of forming an agreement with extreme right-wing groups during this time when tensions rose within parliament as various parties scrambled to form alliances and determine their paths for this new legislative term.

The challenges faced in electing a president underscored how complex and uncertain Portugal’s current political landscape was as parties vied for power and influence.

By Samantha Jones

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