2015 Portuguese legislative election
The Portuguese legislative election of 2015 was held on 4 October. All 230 seats of the Assembly of the Republic were in contention.
230 seats to the Assembly of the Republic
116 seats needed for a majority
The right-wing coalition Portugal Ahead (PàF), composed of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the People's Party (CDS-PP), won the single largest vote with 38.6% and securing almost 47% of the seats in the Assembly. Compared with 2011, this was a loss of 12% in support (although the PSD and the CDS–PP did not contest the 2011 election in coalition). On the electoral map, the coalition won every district in the North and in the Centre except Castelo Branco. They also won in the big districts of Lisbon and Porto. The map shows a clear North-South divide, with the conservative coalition winning almost everything in the North and Centre and the PS winning in the South.
The Socialist Party (PS) was the second most voted political force, winning 32.3% of the vote and 37% of the seats in the Parliament. The PS received a higher share of the vote than in 2011, but did not increase its share by as much of a margin as had been predicted by the opinion polls prior to September 2015. António Costa, former mayor of Lisbon, was not able to win the city of Lisbon, where the PS lost to PàF 35% to 37%. Although the PS and the other left-wing parties did win a clear overall majority in Parliament, in his concession speech Costa said that he would not support "a negative coalition" with the Left Bloc and Communist Party and that he would rather talk and negotiate with the PSD/CDS–PP coalition.
The Left Bloc (BE), despite predictions by opinion polls, achieved its best result in history, with more than 10% of the vote, becoming the third largest parliamentary group. The CDU's (Communists and Greens) share of the vote increased slightly compared to 2011, receiving 8% of the vote and one additional MP. The People–Animals–Nature (PAN) also elected one member of parliament becoming the first time since 1999 in which a new party entered the Assembly. Voter turnout reached a new low, with just 55.8% of the electorate casting their ballot on election day.
Passos Coelho was asked, by the President of the Republic, to form a minority government that took the oath of office on October 30, 2015. The government fell after the approval of a motion to bring it down on 10 November. On 24 November, António Costa was appointed by the President of the Republic as Prime Minister-designate. Costa was sworn in on 26 November 2015.
Politics of Portugal
The President of Portugal has the power to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic by their own will. Unlike in other countries, the President can refuse to dissolve the parliament at the request of the Prime Minister or the Assembly of the Republic and all the parties represented in Parliament. If the Prime Minister resigns, the President must appoint a new Prime Minister after listening to all the parties represented in Parliament and then the government programme must be subject to discussion by the Assembly of the Republic, whose members of parliament may present a motion to reject the upcoming government.
PS Primaries 2014
The 2014 Portuguese Socialist Party prime ministerial primary was held on 28 September 2014. It was the first open primary in the history of the party, and of Portugal, and elected the party's candidate for Prime Minister for the 2015 general election. There were two candidates running, António José Seguro, General Secretary of the party at the time of the primary, and António Costa, mayor of Lisbon. António Costa won the primary by a landslide with 67.9% of the vote against the 31.7% of Antonio José Seguro, resulting in Seguro conceding defeat and resigning as General Secretary of the party. Costa was next elected new socialist's General Secretary on 22 November 2014.
According to the Portuguese Constitution, an election must be called between 14 September and 14 October of the year that the legislature ends. The election is called by the President of Portugal but is not called at the request of the Prime Minister, however the President must listen all the parties represented in Parliament and the election day must be announced at least 60 days before the election. If an election is called in the middle of the legislature (Dissolution of Parliament) it must be held at least in 55 days. Election day is the same in all multi-seats constituencies, and should fall on a Sunday or national holiday. The next legislative election must, therefore, took place no later than 11 October 2015. After meeting with all of the parties represented in parliament on 21 July 2015, the President Aníbal Cavaco Silva called the election for 4 October.
The Assembly of the Republic has 230 members elected to four-year terms. Governments do not require absolute majority support of the Assembly to hold office, as even if the number of opposers of government is larger than that of the supporters, the number of opposers still needs to be equal or greater than 116 (absolute majority) for both the Government's Programme to be rejected or for a motion of no confidence to be approved.
The number of seats assigned to each district depends on the district magnitude. The use of the d'Hondt method makes for a higher effective threshold than certain other allocation methods such as the Hare quota or Sainte-Laguë method, which are more generous to small parties.
|District||Number of MPs||Map|
|Coimbra, Faro, Viseu and Santarém*||9 (-1)|
|Madeira and Viana do Castelo||6|
|Azores and Vila Real||5|
|Castelo Branco and Guarda||4|
|Beja, Bragança, Évora||3|
|Portalegre, Europe and Outside Europe||2|
|*Santarém district lost one seat compared with 2011.|
The table below lists the parties represented in the Assembly of the Republic during the 12th legislature (2011-2015):
|Name||Ideology||Political position||Leader||2011 result|
|PPD/PSD||Social Democratic Party
Partido Social Democrata
|Centre-right||Pedro Passos Coelho||38.7%|
108 / 230
|Social democracy||Centre-left||António Costa||28.1%|
74 / 230
|CDS-PP||CDS – People's Party
Centro Democrático e Social – Partido Popular
24 / 230
|PCP||Portuguese Communist Party
Partido Comunista Português
|Far-left||Jerónimo de Sousa||7.9%
14 / 230
|PEV||Ecologist Party "The Greens"
Partido Ecologista "Os Verdes"
2 / 230
Bloco de Esquerda
8 / 230
The parties and coalitions that contested seats to the Portuguese parliament, and their leaders, were:
|Party or alliance||Original slogan||English translation||Refs|
|PàF||« Agora Portugal pode mais »||"Now Portugal can do more"|
|PS||« É tempo de confiança »||"It's time for trust"|
|CDU||« Soluções para um Portugal com futuro »||"Solutions for a Portugal with a future"|
|BE||« Faz a diferença. Gente de verdade »||"Make a difference. Real people"|
|PAN||« A causa de todos »||"The cause of all"|
After changes in the electoral law that obligated that all of the parties contesting an election should be represented in debates, the 3 main TV networks RTP, SIC and TVI proposed 3 debates between the two main candidates António Costa and Pedro Passos Coelho and also a series of head-to-head debates between various party leaders and one debate with all party leaders. After meetings with the various parties, it was decided to hold two face-to-face debates between António Costa and Pedro Passos Coelho in which one will be broadcast on television and the other on radio. There was also going to be a debate between all the parties represented in Parliament but it was cancelled by the refusal of the PSD/CDS-PP coalition to have only the leader of the PSD on the debate and not also the leader of the CDS-PP, Paulo Portas
Completed televised debates:
|Portuguese legislative election debates, 2015|
|Name Invited Participant. N Non-invitee.|
|1||1 September||RTP Informação||Vítor Gonçalves||N||N||Jerónimo||Martins|
|2||8 September||SIC Notícias||Ana Lourenço||Portas||N||N||Martins|
|Judite de Sousa
Clara de Sousa
João Adelino Faria
|P. Coelho||Costa||N||N||Broadcast simultaneously on the 3 major TV networks.|
|4||11 September||RTP Informação||Vítor Gonçalves||P. Coelho||N||N||Martins|
|5||14 September||TVI24||Pedro Pinto||N||Costa||N||Martins|
|6||16 September||SIC Notícias||Ana Lourenço||N||Costa||Jerónimo||N|
|7||17 September||Antena 1
Maria Flor Pedroso
|P. Coelho||Costa||N||N||Broadcast simultaneously on 3 national radio stations.|
|8||18 September||TVI24||José Alberto Carvalho||Portas||N||Apolónia||N|
|Candidate viewed as "most convincing" in each debate|
|3||9 September||RTP1/SIC/TVI||Aximage||35.7||48.0||16.3% said it was a tie.|
|Eurosondagem||31.8||40.0||28.2% said neither won or it was a tie.|
|7||17 September||Antena 1/RR/TSF||Marktest||42.5||29.5||14.2% said neither won and 13.8% were undecided.|
The results display a relative victory of the right-wing coalition, but they also display a combined victory of the left-wing parties (including the Socialist Party), with a hung parliament (a right-wing single winner and a left-wing majority parliament).
|Parties||Votes||%||±pp swing||MPs||MPs %/|
|Portugal Ahead (PSD / CDS–PP)||1,993,504||36.86||10.9||124||102||22||44.35||10.5||1.20|
|Unitary Democratic Coalition||445,901||8.25||0.4||16||17||1||7.39||0.4||0.90|
|Portuguese Workers' Communist||60,045||1.11||0.0||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|LIVRE/Time to move forward||39,330||0.73||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|We, the Citizens!||21,382||0.40||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|Labour / Socialist Alternative (ACT!)||20,793||0.38||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|Together for the People||14,275||0.26||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|United Party of Retirees and Pensioners||13,899||0.26||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|People's / People's Monarchist||3,624||0.07||N/A||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Christian Democratic and Citizenship||2,685||0.05||0.1||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Source: Diário da República - Resultados Oficias|
Distribution by constituency
|Viana do Castelo||45.5||4||29.8||2||8.0||-||5.2||-||0.9||-||6|
|Rest of the World||48.5||2||10.8||-||1.6||-||1.5||-||1.8||-||2|
|Source: Legislativas 2015|
- Most voted political force by municipality.
The Socialists, the Left Bloc, the Communists and the Greens started negotiations to form a left-wing majority coalition government. On 19 October 2015, the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party, António Costa, rejected the proposal for a post-election coalition government with the right-wing alliance PàF. On the next day, Costa said that the Socialist Party would reject in the parliament any government that would be led by Pedro Passos Coelho and supported by the right-wing coalition Portugal Ahead. During the same day, António Costa guaranteed to President Aníbal Cavaco Silva that the Socialist Party had the conditions to form a government, supported in the parliament by the Left Bloc and the Communist Party. After being consulted by the President, the Socialist Party, the Left Bloc, the Communist Party and the Greens expressed their intention to support a government of the Socialist Party, led by António Costa.
- A right-wing (PàF) minority government without the support of the Socialists (without majority support from the new parliament; rejected by Costa);
- A right-wing (PàF) minority government with the parliamentary support of the Socialists (rejected by Costa);
- A grand coalition government including the right-wing coalition (PàF) and the Socialists (rejected by Costa);
- A minority government of the Socialist Party with the parliamentary support of the Left Bloc and the Communists (most likely);
- A left-wing coalition government including the Socialists, the Left Bloc and the Communists;
- A caretaker government, until new elections are held, if the parties fail to reach an agreement.
On 22 October, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva controversially designated Pedro Passos Coelho to form a new government, which after taking the oath of office had 10 days to submit its programme in Parliament. But the PS, BE and CDU had already stated that they would call a motion of rejection to bring down the government.
On 23 October, the new Assembly of the Republic was opened. Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, a Socialist, was elected as President of the Assembly with the support of the Socialists, the Communists, the Left Bloc and the Greens. He received 120 votes against 108 votes for the government's candidate.
Fall of the government
The Socialist Party reached agreements with the three other left-wing parties: the Left Bloc, the Communists and the Greens. Those agreements were eventually approved by the national organs of the Socialist Party on 8 November. On 10 November, the Portugal Ahead government programme was rejected in a motion of rejection by a vote of 123 to 107 MPs. On 26 November, a new government was established as a Socialist Party minority government led by Prime Minister António Costa.
- As leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). The leader of the People's Party (CDS–PP) is the deputy prime minister Paulo Portas.
- In the 2011 election, Pedro Passos Coelho was elected in the district of Vila Real.
- Sum of votes and seats of the PSD and the CDS–PP in the 2011 election. PSD: 38.7%, 108 seats; CDS–PP: 11.7%, 24 seats.
- Following the election, Pedro Passos Coelho was first designated as Prime Minister by the President of the Republic with a PSD/CDS-PP minority government. He took the oath of office for his second term on October 30, 2015. On November 10, 2015, Coelho's government was defeated in a motion of no confidence vote, 123 against 107, prompting the fall of his government. The President of the Republic, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, then invited PS leader António Costa to form a minority government with the support of BE and CDU. Costa's minority government was sworn in on 26 November 2015.
- The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Ecologist Party "The Greens" (PEV) contested the 2011 election in a coalition called Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU) and won a combined 7.9% of the vote and elected 16 MPs to parliament.
- Electoral lists only in continental Portugal.
- Electoral list only in Madeira and Azores.
- Electoral list only in Madeira.
- Electoral list only in Azores.
- Electoral list only in Madeira.
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