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Home / News / Centre-right leader Montenegro named Portugal PM

Centre-right leader Montenegro named Portugal PM


Portugal’s president has invited Luis Montenegro, whose centre-right Democratic Alliance (AD) won a parliamentary election on 10 March by a slim margin, to form a minority government after eight years of Socialist rule, the presidency said.

The AD, which landed well short of a working majority, has said it is prepared to govern on its own, rejecting negotiating a coalition proposed by the far-right party Chega.

Chega emerged as kingmaker after quadrupling its parliamentary representation – a first for a far right party since the fall of a fascist dictatorship 50 years ago.

An AD government will be dependent on piecemeal deals in parliament with Chega, or the left wing to pass legislation, making it potentially unstable.

The widely-expected nomination by conservative President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa came shortly after midnight after the remaining ballots from abroad were counted by the electoral commission, giving Chega two additional seats, while the AD and the Socialists added just one each.

Overall, the AD won 80 seats in the 230-seat legislature, which is expected to return next week, followed by the Socialists at 78 seats and Chega, which was founded just five years ago, with 50.

The result underscores a political tilt to right-wing populism and a dwindling of Socialist governance across Europe, which is expected to result in gains for far-right parties in European elections in June.

Mr Montenegro, 51, has repeatedly said he would not strike a deal with Chega, reiterating yesterday the AD was prepared to govern on its own.

Chega leader and former TV sports commentator Andre Ventura has demanded a government role in exchange for support.

The government could be sworn in during the first week of April and within 10 days of that date must present its programme to parliament, which is automatically approved unless parliament holds a vote to reject it.

Analysts expect an AD government will be allowed to takeover and see the 2025 budget as its first survival test toward the end of this year. A rejected budget could lead to a new election.

Chega’s Ventura has threatened to vote against the bill and said the AD would be responsible for any instability if it continues to ignore his party, but also signalled support for at least some initial steps proposed by Mr Montenegro.

Such initiatives include higher wages and benefits for healthcare workers, police and teachers, and lower income taxes.

Socialist leader Pedro Nuno Santos said on Tuesday it was “practically impossible” for his party to support AD’s 2025 budget, but it was open to negotiating measures to help the flagging healthcare, education and security sectors.


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