A Clear Socialist Victory in Portugal

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After years of bad news and election defeat, European center-left parties are showing signs of life following a decisive win in Portugal.

  • Portugal’s center-left Socialist Party, led by Prime Minister António Costa, has emerged the clear winner of a snap general election held on Sunday, winning an outright parliamentary majority.
  • Costa is a pragmatist who has ruled Portugal for six years in a coalition with two far-left parties. The election result means his party can now govern alone with a strengthened mandate.
  • The election also saw the rise of the far-right Chega party, which advanced to third place only a few years after its founding.
  • That outcome dispelled the notion that Portugal was immune to the kind of far-right politics that has spread across much of Europe.
  • But the clear winners were Costa’s Socialists. Costa’s popularity is owed to the relative stability Portugal has enjoyed during his time in office.
  • Portugal in recent years has benefited from relatively strong economic performance and has managed to fix its once ailing public finances.
  • Costa’s victory follows a string of recent center-left victories across Europe, including in Norway and Germany.
  • These wins come after years of bad news and declining poll numbers for center-left parties across much of Europe, raising the larger question: Is Europe’s center-left on the cusp of a revival?
Foreign Policy
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