The majority of the opposition rejected the proposed State Budget. This situation may lead to early elections, as Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has announced before.
The proposed State Budget for 2022 (OE2022) was rejected on Wednesday with votes against by the PSD, CDS-PP, Chega, Iniciativa Liberal, but also by Portugal’s Communist Party (PCP) and the Left Bloc (BE). It’s the first time this has happened in Portuguese democracy, and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already signalled that he would dissolve the parliament.
Despite the appeals made by the Socialist Party (PS) and the government throughout these two days of debate, BE and the Communists decided not to pass the Budget proposal to the speciality, joining the PSD, CDS-PP, IL and Chega in voting against it. Only PS voted in favour and PAN abstained in the State Budget proposed by the government.
On the government’s part, during the debate on Wednesday, António Costa said he was “serene”, stressing that his conscience was “clear” and also assured that he was now awaiting president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s decision. For the prime minister, as he said several times in the plenary, the best option would have been to have the draft State Budget approved.
However, It is important to note that even before the final vote on the OE2022, the president of Portugal had already made it clear that he would dissolve the parliament if the State Budget was rejected, meaning that going to elections is the most likely next step.
If and when the president of Portugal publishes the dissolution decree, elections must be held within 60 days.
Later this evening, Marcelo de Rebelo de Sousa will meet with the prime minister and the president of parliament to discuss the next steps.
(Article last updated at 7h08 pm)