The election for Speaker of the Parliament in Portugal failed at its third attempt, highlighting deep political divisions in the newly elected “Assembleia da Republica” on March 10. Despite all candidates failing to achieve the required absolute majority of 116 votes, even in the last round of voting, MPs will meet again to try again and parties will be able to propose new candidates.

The newly appointed prime minister, Luis Montenegro of the Democratic Alliance, faces a challenging mandate. His candidate for Speaker of Parliament, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, came second in the third ballot, behind Francisco Assis of the Socialist Party. Montenegro was appointed head of government by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa after his alliance won the most votes in the elections. However, governing is expected to be difficult given that the Democratic Alliance has 80 seats and the Socialists have 78.

The right-wing populist party Chega led by Andre Ventura also won over 50 seats, adding to further challenges for Montenegro. A coalition between conservatives and socialists is unlikely due to political differences and lack of cooperation with Chega. If failure to secure a majority in parliamentary elections on government’s program leads to new elections, it could further complicate governance. Ultimately, the political landscape in Portugal remains uncertain as parties face challenges in forming a government.

In conclusion, despite attempts at forming a coalition between conservatives and socialists being unlikely due to political differences and lack of cooperation with Chega, governing could still prove difficult for new Prime Minister Luis Montenegro. Failure to secure a majority in parliamentary elections on government’s program could lead to new elections and further complications for governance in Portugal.

By Samantha Johnson

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