Winners and losers: understanding the results of 2019 european elections in Portugal

  • ECO News
  • 27 May 2019

The Socialist Party won big this election. The Social-Democrats suffered a historical defeat and Bloco (BE) has consolidated its position as the third most influential political force in Portugal.

The Socialist Party (PS) has won this Sunday’s European election with 33.38% of the votes and the Social-Democrat Party (PSD) was left behind with a massive defeat at 21.94% of the polls. Despite only 9 out of the 100 Portuguese consulates around the globe are missing to close the official results, there is scarcely a margin for doubts. Bloco de Esquerda, one of the two left-wing parties that are supporting the socialist government in parliament, managed to take third place. Both the Communist Party (PCP) and the Christian Democrats (CDS) lost big, while the rising ecologist party, PAN, keeps growing. But let’s take a closer look at what this really means.

PS claims victory and sets itself apart from rival PSD

A triumphant Costa has much to be proud of. The socialists were the ones managing to poll the best in the electoral night with 33.38% of the votes, winning the majority of the seats in Strasbourg. It has also grown since 2014 when it only gathered 31.46% of the votes with just 8 seats, but the biggest improvement was definitely to set itself apart from its rival PSD that just polled 21.94% of the votes. It is hard, however, to project this results into the general elections for the Portuguese Parliament later this year, partially because abstention was almost at 70% and there are no certainties that this election’s voters will be keeping their votes by then.

PSD had the worst result ever

Whenever they ran by themselves, the social-democrats managed to poll at more than 30% of the votes. Not anymore. This Sunday, PSD polled just 21.94% of the votes and will not most certainly be able to increase the number of seating MEPs – six in 2014 – in the European Parliament. Comparing to the results of 2009, the last time PSD ran alone in a European election, the party now led by Rui Rio lost more than 400,000 votes. Even though Rio is now focusing on October’s elections and does not show any sign of intending to hand off the leadership to someone else, the months ahead are expected to be tough for him.

Bloco’s arm swinging, PAN’s surprising victory, and CDS’ colossal defeat

Bloco arrives in third place after polling 9.82% of the votes. Contrarily to what happened to PCP and the coalition is in, CDU, Bloco is profiting of supporting the socialist government in Parliament, a tendency that has been long observed since the last local elections in 2017. The rising star of Portuguese Politics is PAN, the one-issue ecologist party that entered Parliament in 2015, which has now managed to elect one MEP in this elections. The Christian Democrats had a massive failure, which did not reflect at all last local elections’ results for them. Some political analytics defend that this might have happened due to the usage of more socially conservative rhetoric during the campaign.

Left strengthens its position and Right loses.

One of the main conclusions of this Sunday’s election was that the left-wing parties have been clearly benefitting from their “gerigonça”, the government solution found in 2015 by the socialists with the support of Bloco and PCP in Parliament. Both the traditional (PSD and CDS) and the new right-wing parties (Aliança and Iniciativa Liberal) did not manage to thrive in yesterday’s election. Pedro Santana Lopes, former Prime-Minister and former social-democrat leader that decided to found a new party named Aliança after Rio’s victory in the last PSD convention, left a warning to the other right-wing parties: “Perhaps some will now understand the importance of my proposal for a centre-right convergence”.