2019 Portuguese legislative election
The Portuguese legislative election of 2019 was held on 6 October 2019. All 230 seats to the Assembly of the Republic were at stake.
230 seats in the Assembly of the Republic
116 seats needed for a majority
Party winning a plurality in each electoral district.
In a campaign dominated by the Tancos airbase robbery, in which former Defense Minister Azeredo Lopes (2015-2018) was accused of trying to cover-up the finding of the stolen weapons in the robbery, but also with the good economic situation Portugal was living, the Socialist Party (PS) won the elections with 36% of the votes and 108 seats, a gain of 22 compared with 2015. The PS won the big districts of Porto and Lisbon, although Porto was closer than expected, and was able to gain districts from the PSD, like Aveiro and Viana do Castelo, however, by razor thin margins. The PS won Lisbon city, however with a smaller share of the vote compared with 2015, 33% vs 35%, and, surprisingly, lost Porto city to the PSD.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) obtained 28% of the votes and won 79 seats. The party lost 10 seats compared with 2015, and, in terms of share of vote, it was the worst result since 1983, however in terms of seats, it was only the worst result since 2005, when the party won 75 seats. The PSD was able to hold on to their bastions of Viseu, Vila Real, Bragança, Leiria and Madeira. On election night, PSD leader Rui Rio classified the results as "not a disaster" and left the door open to continue as party leader. However, in the aftermath of the election, several members of the party announced their intention to challenge Rio's leadership.
The Left Bloc (BE) achieved a similar result to 2015. The party won almost 10% of the votes and held the 19 seats elected in 2015. On election night, Catarina Martins said she was open to new negotiations with PS. The Unitary Democratic Coalition, (CDU), PCP-PEV coalition, suffered heavy losses, with 6.3% of the votes and 12 seats, and Jerónimo de Sousa, PCP secretary-general, said on election night that written agreements with PS were off the table. CDS – People's Party got just 4.2% of the votes, and got a parliamentary caucus reduced to just 5 seats, the lowest since 1991 and when the party was called the "taxi party", down from 18 in the 2015 election. Assunção Cristas, CDS leader, resigned on election night, called for a snap party congress and announced she would not run for reelection. People-Animals-Nature (PAN) saw a big increase in its share of the vote, winning 3.3% and 4 seats from Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal.
This election was marked by the entry of three new parties in Parliament. The right-wing/far-right party CHEGA (CH) was one of the big surprises on election night by electing an MP from Lisbon. It is the first time in Portuguese democracy that a right-wing/far-right party is represented in Parliament. LIVRE and Liberal Initiative also elected one MP for Lisbon. Former Prime Minister and PSD leader Pedro Santana Lopes' new party, Alliance, failed to win a single seat and polled below 1% of the votes.
The turnout in this election was the lowest ever in a general election in Portugal, with just 48.6% of registered voters casting a ballot. In Portugal alone, 54.5% of voters cast a ballot, a drop compared with the 57% in the 2015 election.
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.
PSD leadership election 2018
After a disappointing result in the 2017 local elections, in which the PSD won just 30% of the votes and 98 mayoral races against the 38% of the PS and its 160 elected mayors, Pedro Passos Coelho announced he would not run for a 5th term as PSD leader. After that, Rui Rio, former mayor of Porto (2002-2013), announced he was running for the leadership. Shortly after, Pedro Santana Lopes, former mayor of Lisbon (2002-2004; 2005) and Prime Minister (2004-2005), announced he was also running for the leadership of the party. Election day was scheduled to January 13, 2018. After a long campaign, Rui Rio was elected with 54.15% of the votes, against the 45.85% of Santana Lopes. Turnout was 60.3%. Rui Rio was officially confirmed as party leader in the PSD congress, in Lisbon, between 16 and 18 February 2018.
Just seven months after this leadership election, in early July 2018, Pedro Santana Lopes announced he was leaving the Social Democratic Party and would form his own party. A few weeks later he announced the creation of a new party, the Alliance.
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 to all of the parties represented in Parliament and the election day must be announced at least 60 days before the election. If an election is called during an ongoing 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, take place no later than 13 October 2019. After meeting with all parties, in December 2018, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced that he would call a general election for 6 October 2019.
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 and Santarém||9|
|Madeira and Viana do Castelo||6|
|Azores and Vila Real||5|
|Beja, Bragança, Évora and Guarda*||3 (-1)|
|Portalegre, Europe and Outside Europe||2|
|*Guarda district lost one seat compared with 2015.|
Voters were also able to vote early, which would happen one week before election day, on 29 September 2019. Voters had to register in order to be eligible to cast an early ballot. Between 22 and 26 September, 56,287 voters requested to vote early. On 29 September, 50,638 voters (90.0% of voters that requested) cast an early ballot.
The table below lists the parties represented in the Assembly of the Republic during the 13th legislature (2015-2019) and that also contested the elections:
|Name||Ideology||Political position||Leader||2015 result||Seats at|
|PPD/PSD||Social Democratic Party
Partido Social Democrata
89 / 230
89 / 230
|CDS-PP||CDS – People's Party
Centro Democrático e Social – Partido Popular
18 / 230
18 / 230
|Social democracy||Centre-left||António Costa||32.3%||
86 / 230
85 / 230
Bloco de Esquerda
19 / 230
19 / 230
|PCP||Portuguese Communist Party
Partido Comunista Português
|Far-left||Jerónimo de Sousa||8.3%
15 / 230
15 / 230
|PEV||Ecologist Party "The Greens"
Partido Ecologista "Os Verdes"
2 / 230
2 / 230
|Centre-left||André Lourenço e Silva||1.4%||
1 / 230
1 / 230
|Paulo Trigo Pereira (Left the PS caucus.)||N/A|
1 / 230
Non represented parties
The table below lists smaller parties not represented in the Assembly of the Republic that ran in the elections:
|Party or alliance||Original slogan||English translation||Refs|
|PSD||« Portugal Precisa »||"Portugal Needs"|
|PS||« Portugal Melhor »||"Better Portugal"|
|BE||« Faz Acontecer »||"Make it happen"|
|CDS–PP||« Faz sentido »||"Makes sense"|
|CDU||« Avançar é Preciso »||"Moving forward is necessary"|
|PAN||« Ainda vamos a tempo! »||"We are still on time!"|
|L||« Livre é igualdade »||"Free is equality"|
|IL||« Liberta-te do Socialismo »||"Free yourself from Socialism"|
|CH||« A força da mudança »||"The force of change"|
|2019 Portuguese legislative election debates|
|Date||Organisers||Moderator(s)||P Present A Absent invitee N Non-invitee|
|2 Sep||SIC||Clara de Sousa||P||N||N||P||N||N|
|3 Sep||RTP3||António José Teixeira||N||N||P||N||P||N|
|5 Sep||SIC||Clara de Sousa||N||P||N||N||P||N|
|6 Sep||RTP1||António José Teixeira||P||N||P||N||N||N|
|7 Sep||SIC Notícias||Clara de Sousa||N||N||P||N||N||P|
|9 Sep||RTP1||António José Teixeira||N||P||N||N||N||P|
|11 Sep||SIC||Clara de Sousa||P||N||N||N||N||P|
|12 Sep||RTP1||António José Teixeira||N||P||N||P||N||N|
|13 Sep||TVI||Pedro Pinto||P||N||N||N||P||N|
|14 Sep||RTP3||António José Teixeira||N||N||N||N||P||P|
|15 Sep||TVI||Pedro Pinto||N||P||P||N||N||N|
|Clara de Sousa
Maria Flor Pedroso
José Alberto Carvalho
|18 Sep||Antena 1,
|23 Sep||Antena 1,
|23 Sep||RTP1||Maria Flor Pedroso||P||P||P||P||P||P|
|Candidate viewed as "most convincing" in each debate|
|23 Sep||Antena 1, RR, TSF||Aximage||37.9||38.7||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||21.4% Both/Neither|
|23 Sep||RTP1||Aximage||30.9||31.2||18.9||1.5||7.1||2.9||7.5% No one|
The centre-left Socialist Party (PS) of incumbent Prime Minister Costa obtained the largest share of the vote, and the most seats. Costa said he would look to continue the confidence-and-supply agreement with the Left Bloc and the Unitary Democratic Coalition. The centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) got 27.8 percent of the vote, its worst result since 1983. Portugal's much-vaunted immunity to Europe's far-right wave was interrupted by the election of a debut representative from the nationalist CHEGA party, which scored 1.3 percent overall, with the party's leader stating “this is an historic occasion, it will be the first time in 45 years that a party with these characteristics enters the assembly.”
|Parties||Votes||%||±pp swing||MPs||MPs %/|
|Unitary Democratic Coalition||332,018||6.34||1.9||17||12||5||5.22||2.2||0.82|
|Portuguese Workers' Communist||36,006||0.69||0.4||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|React, Include, Recycle||35,169||0.67||N/A||N/A||0||N/A||0.00||N/A||0.0|
|We, the Citizens!||12,346||0.24||0.2||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|United Party of Retirees and Pensioners||11,457||0.22||0.1||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Together for the People||10,552||0.20||0.1||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Socialist Alternative Movement||3,243||0.06||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
Distribution by constituency
|Viana do Castelo||34.8||3||33.8||3||8.5||-||4.0||-||6.2||-||2.4||-||0.7||-||0.6||-||0.6||-||6|
|Rest of the World||20.2||1||33.4||1||3.5||-||1.0||-||4.7||-||4.3||-||0.9||-||2.5||-||0.7||-||2|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
- Full results by electoral district.
- Strongest party by electoral district.
- Strongest party by municipality.
|18–24 years old||10%||25%||30%||13%||3%||4%||9%||18%|
|25–44 years old||31%||32%||23%||14%||6%||3%||4%||19%|
|45–64 years old||38%||42%||27%||10%||6%||5%||2%||9%|
|65 and older||22%||51%||28%||4%||6%||3%||1%||7%|
|In the last week or before||19%||25%||26%||13%||4%||4%||3%||25%|
|Direction of the country|
|Source: GfK Metris exit poll|
- The Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the People's Party (CDS–PP) contested the 2015 election in a coalition called Portugal Ahead (PàF) and won a combined 38.6% of the vote and elected 107 MPs to parliament.
- The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Ecologist Party "The Greens" (PEV) contested the 2015 election in a coalition called Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU) and won a combined 8.3% of the vote and elected 17 MPs to parliament.
- Here pictured, the party's main candidate in this campaign, Joacine Katar Moreira, running for Lisbon.
- The Socialist Alternative Movement (MAS) and the Portuguese Labour Party (PTP) contested the 2015 election in a coalition called AGIR! (Act!) and won a combined 0.4% of the vote.
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