PORTUGAL
Parliamentary Chamber: Assembleia da Republica

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1991

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Chamber:
  Assembleia da Republica


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  6 October 1991


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  During the three-week election campaign, Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) emphasized the need for continued strong leadership and pointed to his party’s positive record, especially in the economic sector, rather than engaging in inter-party debate on concrete issues. He moreover stressed the need for “stability with continuity” particularly in view of Portugal’s upcoming assumption of the European Community presidency, threatening to step down if the PSD did not maintain its absolute parliamentary majority. The main opposition Socialist Party (PS), led by Mr. Jorge Sampaio, advocated “change with security” and proposed, inter alia, increased spending on housing, health and education. Altogether 13 parties fielded candidates for the reduced Assembly’s 230 seats (20 less than before).

On a polling day marked by a relatively low voter turnout, the centre-right PSD was returned to power with a decreased, but nevertheless absolute, majority of 135 seats while the PS consoled itself by raising its overall totals. The Communist-led Unified Democratic Coalition (CDU), for its part, lost nearly half its seats. The ruling party’s victory was widely seen as a personal triumph for the Prime Minister and his stabilizing policies.

On 28 October, a new Cabinet headed by Mr. Cavaco Silva was appointed. It thus continued to “cohabit” with PS President of the Republic Mario Soares.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (6 October 1991): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 8,462,357
Voters 5,735,431 (67.77%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 110,672
Valid votes 5,624,759

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Social Democratic Party (PSD) 2,901,507 50.60
Socialist Party (PS) 1,670,618 29.14
Unified Democratic Coalition (CDU) 504,549 8.80
Social Democratic Centre (CDS) 254,289 4.43
National Solidarity Party (PSN)* 95,730 1.67
Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) 34,977 0.61

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Social Democratic Party (PSD) 135 -13
Socialist Party (PS) 72 +12
Unified Democratic Coalition (CDU) 17 -14
Social Democratic Centre (CDS) 5 +1
National Solidarity Party (PSN)* 1 +1
Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) - -7

Comments:
  Twenty seats less than at previous elections.
* New party.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 210
Women: 20


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Copyright 1991 Inter-Parliamentary Union