Portugal’s Socialist Party celebrated winning a surprise outright parliamentary majority on Sunday night in a snap election.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s party won against the odds after polls showed his party’s popularity was waning in the run-up to the election. Before the results dropped, it looked like a neck-and-neck contest between the Socialists and their centre-right rivals, the Social Democrat party.
With 99 per cent of the votes counted, the Socialists secured 41 percent of the vote with the Social Democrats on just 27 percent.
The victory heralds Costa’s first time heading a majority government, having presided over two minority administrations.
The snap election, announced in December, was called as the minority Socialist Party clashed with radical left parties over budget negotiations.
In a victory speech, Costa said: “An absolute majority doesn’t mean absolute power. It doesn’t mean to govern alone. It’s an increased responsibility and it means to govern with and for all Portuguese.”
Portugal will now have a stable government as it manages its €16.6bn ($18.7bn) EU pandemic recovery funds.
Previously a minority party in a left-wing coalition, the Socialist Party has raised the country’s minimum wage, reduced unemployment and introduced a right to disconnect, stopping bosses from contacting employees outside of work hours. It has pledged to consider a four-day working week and has promised to reduce corporation tax by 2026.