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On 5 November 2021 President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa approved the dissolution of parliament and called for a general election to be held on 30 January 2022. This followed the rejection of his budget by the parliament.

Two political parties dominate the political scene in Portugal: the centre-left Socialist Party and the centre-right Social Democratic Party. Both parties topped the opinion polls leading up to the election, although the right-wing Chega party made a late surge and looked to become the third largest in the new parliament.

The two-week election campaign commenced on 16 January 2022 and took place under the cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic. The incumbent Prime Minister, Antonia Costa, had been praised for his response to the pandemic, with Portugal seeing one of the most successful vaccine rollouts in Europe.

However, the pandemic brought a focus to voters’ wider concerns over the functioning of the health service and the severe costs to the vital tourism industry that largely shut down due to Covid-19 restriction measures.

Assembly of the Republic election results

Portugal’s Ministry of Internal Administration published the election’s preliminary results on 31 January, the day after the election.

The ruling Socialist Party (PS) won an outright majority of seats in the new parliament, securing a strong new mandate for the Prime Minister.

Party No. of valid votes % of valid votes Seats
Socialist Party (PS) 2,246,637 42.56 117
Social Democratic Party (PSD) 1,498,605 28.39 71
Chega! (“Enough!”) (CH) 385,559 7.30 12
Liberal Initiative (IL) 268,414 5.09 8
Unitary Democratic Coalition (PCP-PEV) 236,635 4.48 6
Left Bloc (BE) 240,265 4.55 5
People’s Party (CDS-PP) 50,634 0.96 3
Democratic Alliance (PSD/CDS-PP/PPM) 28,520 0.54 2
People-Animals-Nature (PAN) 82,250 1.56 1
Livre (“Free”) (L) 68,975 1.31 1
Others 171,912 3.26
TOTAL 5,278,406 100.00 226

The centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) came second, with the right-wing Chega! party becoming the third largest party in the parliament. This represents huge strides for Chega, increasing their representation from just one seat in the previous parliament to 12 in the new parliament.

226 seats have formally been decided, with the four seats elected by Portuguese citizens living abroad yet to be attributed.

Background to the Portuguese general election

The 2022 election was a snap election after the Assembly rejected the President’s budget in October 2021 and subsequent negotiations failed to reach a compromise.

Every Portuguese citizen (including those with dual citizenship) over the age of eighteen were eligible to vote and voting took place in 22 multi-member constituencies. 18 of these correspond to the 18 districts of Portugal, including the autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira. The range in constituency sizes is large: the smallest (Portalegre) elects two Members and the largest (Lisbon) elects 48. The average constituency returns seven Members.

The remaining four seats are chosen by Portuguese citizens living abroad, with two Members representing those living in the rest of Europe and the other two representing those living outside of Europe.

All 230 Members are elected by Party List proportional representation, using the D’Hondt method.

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Briefings on international elections

A series of briefings from the House of Commons Library on elections from around the world.

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