Portugal will have a snap election on Sunday following months of political issues in the Mediterranean country. It comes after the ruling Socialist Party failed to get consensus for their budget bill as their partners in the minority left-wing government refused to back them.
The minority government, headed up by Prime Minister António Costa, has been in power in Portugal since 2015, and last won an election in 2019.
The Socialist Party’s victory in the 2019 election left the party just short of an absolute majority in the 230-seat Assembleia da República, leaving them reliant on the Communists or Left Bloc to pass legislation.
The issue of the budget has been ongoing since October 2021, and parties in government have finally decided they will not back it.
The upcoming vote risks bringing about a disappointing end to Mr Costa’s six-year rule, during much of which his administration was celebrated for fiscal discipline.
Political science Professor Carlos Monjardino of Catolica University said: “The country is in a political impasse.
“The best result from this election that all political parties and the president have in mind would be a two-year political cycle, a transitional solution.”
Any government that makes it into power will still need to pass a budget – otherwise access to EU funds will be complicated.
Portugal is the poorest country in western Europe, with its average wage lower by more than a third than in Spain and Italy.