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Portugal

Yearbook 2009

Portugal. According to countryaah, the ruling Socialist Party (PS) could remain in power even after the parliamentary elections in September, although opinion polls before the election had shown that the opposition bourgeois Social Democratic Party (PSD) had largely cracked down on the Socialists' entire lead from the 2004 election. Just before Election Day the two parties looked to be about the same size. And although the Socialists won the election by a good margin, they went back by eight percentage points to 36.6 percent of the vote, while the bourgeois went slightly to 29.1 percent. The right-wing populist Party (PP) also made a good choice, as did the Left Bloc, which mainly took votes from the socialists. Turnout was low, 60.5 percent.

2009 Portugal

The election result meant that the Socialist government was re-elected but lost its absolute majority, which resulted in it no longer being able to make changes to the constitution on its own. In addition, Prime Minister José Sócrates now had to form a minority government that must seek support in Parliament to enforce its policies. In the election movement, the Socialist Party had emphasized the fight against the country's high unemployment rate of about 9 percent. More jobs would be created through major investments in infrastructure projects, such as an airport in Lisbon and a high-speed train line to Madrid, something that PSD deemed too costly in the current economic crisis. At the beginning of the year, Portugal had undergone an economic recession after noticing falling GDP growth two consecutive quarters.

However, the election campaign was overshadowed by media accusations that President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, former prime minister of the PSD, would have been intercepted by the security police on order by the government office. Later, the media wrote that an assistant to the president would have deliberately spread the rumor in order to discredit Prime Minister Sócrates before the election. Fernando Lima, the president's right hand for 24 years, was forced to step down because of the deal. When Prime Minister Sócrates presented his new minority government on October 26, he pledged to prioritize the fight against the economic downturn and the rising unemployment through government initiatives, even if it meant increasing budget deficits.

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