Socialists set to lose


Final opinion polls in the Portuguese general election suggest that the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) will emerge as the largest party with around 36.3% to 37.4% of the vote. That won’t be enough to win an overall majority and suggests that they will most likely enter into a coalition with the third largest party, the Democratic & Social Centre – People’s Party (CDS-PP) who have 11.6% to 12.5% of the vote.

The polls published in the Journal de Negocios and Diario Noticias suggest that the ruling party of Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the Socialist Party (PS) will take around 29.2% to 30.1% of the vote.

Today, Saturday, is a ‘day of reflection’ when campaigning and opinion polls are banned. Both major parties ended the campaign with massive rallies in Lisbon last night.

Whoever wins, they will be faced with the job of handling the EU/IMF bailout standing at €78bn. Al the parties have signed up to the bailout which includes major cuts in public spending on health, education and pensions as well as a massive privatisation programme.

One of the reasons given for the PSD struggling to gain an overall majority is the lack of experience of their leader, Pedro Passos Coelho. Most market analysts are saying that they don’t much mind who wins provided there is stability; a hung parliament with no overall majority would be the worst scenario.

Polling day is tomorrow, Sunday 5th June.

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