Portugal’s Social Democratic Party (PSD), led by Miguel Albuquerque, emerged victorious from Madeira’s regional elections on Sunday (September 22), receiving 39.42% of the total votes.
But it was something of a bitter sweet victory as the social democrats’ biggest rival, the Socialist Party (PS), led by Paulo Cafôfo, enjoyed its “best results ever”, receiving over 35% of the votes and denying PSD an absolute majority in the regional parliament for the first time since it was set up in 1976.
The feat has already been highlighted by Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa.
“This is an historical result for the Socialist Party, its best ever. It’s extraordinary,” Costa told reporters.
João Pedro Vieira, head of the Socialist Party in Madeira, also described the results as the “start of a new cycle in Madeira with new policies and new key players”.
However, PSD is still expected to hold onto power by forming a coalition government with CDS-PP.
PSD won 21 seats in the regional parliament, down from 24 in the last elections. The socialists’ share of seats grew impressively from five to 19, while CDS-PP secured three sets, down from seven, which should still be enough to team up with PSD and form a centre-right government.
Communist coalition CDU was only able to elect one MP, down one from last year, while left-wing party Bloco de Esquerda was unable to secure enough votes to be represented in the regional parliament.
The night was also disappointing for PAN, Aliança and Iniciativa Liberal which were also hoping they would be able to win at least one seat in parliament.
Now, all eyes are set on the legislative elections that will take place on mainland Portugal on Sunday, October 6.
PS is being dubbed the clear favourite, with the possibility of the party securing absolute majority without the need to rely on left-wing allies CDU and BE.
Rui Rio, PSD’s national leader, has joked that he would like to see the results of the Madeira election repeated on the mainland, but if polls are to be believed then this is highly unlikely.