Parliamentary Chamber: Assembleia da Republica


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  Assembleia da Republica

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  17 March 2002

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in the Assembly following the premature dissolution of this body in December 2001. General elections had previously been held in October 1999.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 5 March 2002, the official campaign for the general election on 17 March 2002 opened, with economic issues at the fore. The election, the second in the country in two and a half years, followed the sudden resignation of the Socialist Prime Minister, Mr Antonio Guterres, after his party's heavy defeat in local elections in December 2001.

Portugal is still the poorest country in the European Union. In 2001 the economy only grew a scant 1.7%, down from 3.4% in both of the previous two years, and the State's high deficit prompted the European Commission in February 2002 to threaten Lisbon with an unprecedented formal warning.

During the campaign, both parties, the incumbent Socialist and the main opposition party, the centre-right Democratic Socialist Party (PSD), focused on stabilising the State budget, introducing corporate tax reductions, raising productivity and reforming the education system.

Despite a lively campaign, only 62% of the electorate turned out to vote. Heavy rain apparently contributed to this relatively low turnout.

The PSD netted 40.1 per cent of the vote as against 37.9 per cent for the Socialists, whose leader, Mr Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, was viewed by many voters as more convincing than the leader of the PSD, Mr Durão Barroso. The PSD obtained 102 seats (up 21 seats from 1999) as against 95 seats for the Socialists (down 20) in the 230-seat Parliament.

The big winner was Mr Paulo Portas, the leader of the conservative Popular Party (CDS-PP), which replaced the Communists as the third political force, reaping 8.8 percent of the vote (up from 8.3 percent) and 14 seats.

The PSD and the Popular Party agreed to form a coalition government. PSD leader Jose Manuel Durão Barroso and Popular Party leader Paulo Portas signed an agreement on the coalition live on television.

On 6 May 2002, Mr José Manuel Durão Barroso was sworn in as Prime Minister.

Round no 1 (17 March 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 8 712 369
Voters 5 431 681 (62 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 105 443
Valid votes 5 326 238

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Democratic Socialist Party (PSD) 2 179 429 40.92
Socialist Party (PS) 2 055 783 38.60
People's Party (PP) 475 267 8.92
United Democratic Coalition (CDU) 378 581 7.11
Left Bloc (BE) 149 677 2.81
Others n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Democratic Socialist Party (PSD) 105 +24
Socialist Party (PS) 96 -19
People's Party (PP) 14 -1
United Democratic Coalition (CDU) 10 -5
Left Bloc (BE) 3 +1
Others 2 n.a.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 186
Women: 44
Percent of women: 19.13

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Copyright © 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union