The rumblings have been long in the wings – and there are those who believe PSD leader Passos Coelho should have resigned the minute the PS government won its leadership battle following 2014’s ‘inconclusive’ legislative elections – but now the pressure is well and truly on. 2017 sees municipal elections throughout the country and with PSD opposition on a par with that of Labour in the UK party faithful feel it is time to up the ante.
A new study released by the Catholic University reveals that 42% believe Passos should step down in favour of punchy former mayor of Porto Rui Rio.
Of this 42%, 33% think the PSD party will be “better” under Rio, while 9% believe it will be “much better”.
The truth is that the PSD’s force as a party of opposition appears to be at an all-time low.
Clearly thunderstruck by the 11th hour backroom deal between the PS and radical left-wing parties that saw the creation of Portugal’s current executive, Passos Coelho has never really recovered: reacting in an increasingly curmudgeonly style, and somehow appearing visibly depleted.
The CESOP study which cites the importance of the PSD regrouping before next year’s municipal elections comes in a week when the PS government celebrates its first year in power, and is looking strong.
Even though PSD parliamentary leader Luís Montenegro has done his best to portray an “ano horribilis”, there have been significant gains on numerous levels and polls have the PS sitting pretty, likely to gain an absolute majority even if the government decides to stand next time round with only one of its current left-wing allies.