2011 Portuguese legislative election

The Portuguese legislative election of 2011 was held on 5 June, to elect all 230 members of the Assembly of the Republic.[6] Pedro Passos Coelho led the centre-right Social Democratic Party to victory over the Socialist Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister José Sócrates.[7] Despite a historically low turnout of less than 60% of registered voters, the right-wing won a clear mandate, winning nearly 130 MPs, more than 56% of the seats, and just over 50% of the vote. While the People's Party, continuing the trend they began in 2009, earned their best score since 1983, the Social Democrats exceeded the expected result in the opinion polls and won the same number of seats as they did in 2002, when the PSD was led by José Manuel Durão Barroso. Of the twenty districts of the country, Pedro Passos Coelho's party won seventeen, including Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Santarém and the Azores, that tend to favor the Socialist Party.

2011 Portuguese legislative election

 2009 5 June 2011 2015 

All 230 seats in the Portuguese Assembly
116 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Registered9,624,354 1.1%
Turnout5,585,054 (58.0%)
1.7 pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Pedro Passos Coelho José Sócrates Paulo Portas
Leader since 26 March 2010 29 September 2004 21 April 2007
Leader's seat Vila Real[1] Castelo Branco[2] Aveiro[3]
Last election 81 seats, 29.1% 97 seats, 36.6% 21 seats, 10.4%
Seats won 108 74 24
Seat change 27 23 3
Popular vote 2,159,181 1,566,347 653,888
Percentage 38.7% 28.0% 11.7%
Swing 9.6 pp 8.6 pp 1.3 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party
Leader Jerónimo de Sousa Francisco Louçã
Party PCP BE
Alliance CDU
Leader since 27 November 2004 24 March 1999
Leader's seat Lisbon[4] Lisbon[5]
Last election 15 seats, 7.9% 16 seats, 9.8%
Seats won 16 8
Seat change 1 8
Popular vote 441,147 288,923
Percentage 7.9% 5.2%
Swing 0.0 pp 4.6 pp

Prime Minister before election

José Sócrates

Prime Minister-designate

Pedro Passos Coelho

The defeat of the PS was severe, as they lost in eleven districts and fell below 30% of the votes cast, a first since the election of 1991. This heavy defeat led José Sócrates to resign as General Secretary of the party on election night. However, it was not the Socialists' worst result, which dated back to 1987 when they polled 30 points behind the Social Democrats. The Socialists were also beaten in José Sócrates district, Castelo Branco, that he dominated since 1995.

For the left-wing parties, the result was mixed. On one hand, the Left Bloc faced a huge setback, losing half of its MPs and regaining its 2005 numbers, where they obtained however, one more percentage point in a context of greater participation. As a whole, the Portuguese left-wing parties trails by ten points in support to the right-wing parties, the biggest lead since the absolute majority of the Social Democrat Aníbal Cavaco Silva in the 1990s.

Voter turnout was one of the lowest in Portuguese election history, with just 58% of the electorate casting their ballot on election day.