Montenegro succeeds Costa as Prime Minister of Portugal | News

Presidency announced Portugal Today, Thursday, conservative politician Luis Montenegro was appointed prime minister after the right-wing Democratic Alliance party to which he belongs won the parliamentary elections held on the 10th of this month.

The 51-year-old veteran lawyer and parliamentarian succeeds Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa, who has been in power since 2015.

Portugal was one of the few left-led countries in Europe until early last November, when Costa resigned and abandoned his candidacy for another term after his name was mentioned in an investigation into a case of abuse of influence.

Montenegro ran in the elections on a platform in which it pledged to boost economic growth by cutting taxes, improving public health services as well as education, which has been affected by strikes by teachers demanding better wages.

Although he did not obtain a majority, the biggest winner in the elections was Andre Ventura, who is from the far-right Chiga (Enough) party, which more than quadrupled its number of seats.

Since Montenegro has described Chiga as a “xenophobic” and “racist” party and has repeatedly denied any cooperation with populists, governing is likely to be very difficult for it.

Andre Ventura from the “Chega” party, which Montenegro described as a xenophobic and racist party (French)

Assumptions of government approval

In an interview with journalists, Montenegro said after a meeting with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa that he will present his government formation next Wednesday, and it is scheduled to assume its duties on the second of next April, if it obtains a majority of votes in Parliament, and if it does not obtain it, new elections will have to be held.

Although the Democratic Alliance Party won the elections on March 10, it won only 79 seats, which is far fewer than what it needs to achieve a majority in the 230-seat parliament.

The formation of a “grand coalition” between conservatives and socialists is out of the question in Portugal. As in neighboring Spain, the two main parties are separated by seemingly insurmountable differences.

Despite the reform of public finances, growth above the European average, and unemployment at its lowest levels, the performance of the socialist government has been harmed by inflation, malfunctions in health services and schools, in addition to a severe housing crisis.

Added to this are corruption scandals that ultimately led to Costa’s downfall and a doubling of the number of immigrants in five years, two issues that the extreme right will exploit in its election campaigns and political discourse.

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