Portugal’s Political Divide: Challenging Governing Ahead for New Prime Minister Luis Montenegro

Portugal’s Parliament Speaker Election Ends in Failure

Governing in Portugal is expected to be challenging as the election of the President of Parliament faced a third unsuccessful attempt on March 10th. This highlights deep political divisions within the newly elected “Assembleia da República” in Lisbon. All candidates failed to secure the necessary absolute majority of 116 votes, even in the final round of voting.

MPs will reconvene on Wednesday to try again, with parties nominating new candidates. The 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. However, despite winning the most votes in the recent election and assuming his role as Prime Minister, Montenegro holds only 80 out of 230 seats in the new parliament while Chega lost 42 seats and now has over 50 MPs. This rise adds further complexity to governing.

Given that a “grand coalition” between conservatives and socialists seems unlikely and Montenegro refuses to collaborate with Chega, governing is expected to be challenging. If Montenegro fails to secure a majority in an 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, the political landscape in Portugal remains uncertain.

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