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Costa faces its economic boost and with doubts about its possible partners

October 5, 2019

The polls put the PS below the absolute majority, which would force him to look for allies again

LISBON, Oct. 5 (EUROPE PRESS) –

The Socialist Party (PS) starts as a favorite for the parliamentary elections to be held this Sunday in Portugal, in which the current Prime Minister, António Costa, leaves with clear options to repeat at the head of the Government, although for this purpose he will foreseeably need the support from one or several partners.

More than nine million Portuguese are called to renew the Assembly of the Republic, a unicameral Parliament composed of 230 seats and that governs political life in a country that since November 2015 is governed by Costa, which thanks to an unprecedented agreement with the Left bloc and the Communist Party managed to knock down the conservative coalition.

The PS then initiated a government that, despite initial fears of relying on external support, has managed to remain relatively stable in a context marked by the economic awakening of Portugal, which during this type has turned the page to the rescue plan requested during the darkest time of the financial crisis.

The polls coincide in giving the victory to the PS, with an advantage of up to 15 points ahead of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the main conservative formation. The absolute majority seems distant, but the triumph would be clear enough that Costa could continue as prime minister thanks to the votes given by other formations.

The range of deputies in which the PS moves ranges between 97 and 107, above in any case of the current 86 but below the 116 that would allow it to govern and carry out laws without requiring any other support, According to a poll published Wednesday by the public network RTP and the newspaper 'Publico'.

Among the options that are being considered is that Costa tries to renew his agreement with the communists and with the Left Bloc, either jointly or separately, although the relations between the different formations have recently deteriorated. The socialist leader has already made it clear that he will not accept a coalition government.

Discrepancies within the left could leave as a key actor People-Animals-Nature (PAN), an upward formation to which polls grant at least four seats. Its deputies could suffice for the PS to exceed the minimum threshold of the majority in the Assembly of the Republic, although the PAN has already warned that it will put on the table proposals on environmental matters.

Costa has not in fact concealed fears that there may be a “situation of ungovernability” if there is not enough consensus, so he has appealed to the useful vote and to ensure that the PS has a “clear” mandate for the next legislature. “It is necessary to avoid a Spanish political situation,” he warned in August in an interview with the newspaper 'Express'.

BAD HUGS FOR CONSERVERS

Within the pools, however, there seems to be no surprise on the part of the PSD, led since 2018 by Rui Rio, an economist who for more than a decade directed the City of Porto and is already in the spotlight of a sector critical within the training itself.

Not surprisingly, the PSD has not yet recovered from the poor results achieved in the May European elections, when it obtained its worst historical data with 22 percent of the vote. Now it is around 30 percent, but polls foresee losing deputies in relation to the 2015 elections.

In principle, the natural partner of the PSD, the Social Democratic Center / Popular Party, will also retreat, so the conservatives would have a difficult time forming an alternative block that Costa aspires to create except for a last-minute turn.

THE AVAL OF THE ECONOMY

The main guarantee presented by the current Government to remain in power is an economic growth above the European average – for this year GDP is expected to increase by 1.9 percent – and a low deficit unprecedented since More than four decades. The deficit forecast for this year is just two tenths and the Government has promised the surplus for 2020.

Costa, who has refused to raise staff salaries for now, has advocated maintaining tax discipline – fiscal pressure peaked in 2018 – to consolidate the achievements, for which he will foreseeably remain confident in Mario Centeno as Minister of Finance . Rye also serves as president of the Eurogroup.

Portugal, on the other hand, has remained relatively immune to the rise of ultra-rightist formations that have prospered at the height of the crisis in other neighboring countries such as Spain or Italy. Neither the National Renewal Party (PNR) nor the newly founded Chega! (Enough!) Have penetrated between citizenship and the intention to vote for both does not even reach 1 percent.