Win for coalition but no majority

UPDATE: Early Monday morning: Ruling right wing coalition voted back in, but without majority. Unexpected gains for BE Left Bloc – which now becomes the nation’s third political force over the CDU communists. ‘Experts’ pointing to likelihood of “political instability” explaining “not one minority administration has survived a full term in Portugal since the 1974 overthrow of the fascist regime installed by dictator Antonio Salazar”.

The votes are still being counted and final figures are not expected before the end of the day, but for the moment it is a time for “humility”, agrees PSD prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

“We interpret the results with a lot of humility”, he said last night. “We failed to reach a majority in parliament”.

Results through this far show the PSD/ CDS coalition with 100 seats in the 230-seat parliament, which as international observers affirm is “well short of the 116 it would need for a majority”.

In London, António Barroso, senior vice president of the Teneo Intelligence Consultancy, said political instability is set to rise.

“The good result of the extreme-left Left Bloc will force the Socialists to harden their stance towards the government, which does not bode well for political stability over the medium term,” Barroso said in a research note.

The first hurdles could come with the presentation of the 2016 budget in coming weeks, he added.

But as analysis begins in earnest, the bottom line is that Europe does appear “resigned to austerity”, and the real losers in this election have been the Socialists (PS), whose campaign was based on delivering families more disposable income.

For the moment, PS leader António Costa says he will not be resigning, but more importantly perhaps, he will not seek to make the country ungovernable either.

“The government has to understand that things are different now”, he told reporters.

Associated Press reported last night that the result will “give heart to Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government in neighbouring Spain” which faces an election on December 20. Rajoy’s government has imposed deep spending cuts, but growth has returned to the country”.

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