Parliamentary Chamber: Assembleia da Republica


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  Assembleia da Republica

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  10 October 1999

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the Assembly of the Republic on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  In the wake of the previous (October 1995) general elections, the Socialist Party (PS) had formed a minority government headed by Prime Minister Antonio Guterres. The PS held 112 of the 230 Assembly seats, i.e. only four short of an absolute majority.

For the 1999 poll, the governing party was once again mainly confronted by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) of Former Foreign Minister José Manuel Durao Barroso, the Communist Party (PCP) led by Mr. Carlos Carvalhos, and the right-wing Popular Party (PP) headed by Mr. Paulo Portes. The Communist Party was allied with the Greens (PEV) under the CDU (United Democratic Coalition) banner. Campaign issues chiefly concerned the economy and taxes, employment, health, social security and political reforms. In this connection, the primary policy challenges facing a new Socialist government involved reforms to an expensive health and social security system, more flexible labor laws, improvements to the tax system and a revision of the electoral laws. On these subjects, the conservative PSD proposed to cut income tax by 10%, reduce the role of the state in the economy, create tax and social security incentives for hiring women, eliminate hospital waiting lists by the year 2001, raise the minimum monthly pension to 40,000 escudos and, as regards the legislative electoral law, introduce single-member constituencies in place of the current multi-member system. On this last point, the Socialists sought to introduce quotas for women in elected and state-appointed bodies.

On polling day, the PS raised its Assembly total by one seat while the PSD lost five and a new far-left group, the Left Bloc, gained parliamentary representation with two. Analysts attributed this strong showing of the government to a booming economy that has benefited from Portugal's entry into the European single currency and boosted living standards; moreover, the tragedy in East Timor, Portugal's former colony, was seen as contributing to a powerful sense of unity, regarded as helping the ruling party. In this context, President of the Republic Jorge Sampaio asked the Socialists, as the largest party in the Assembly, to form the new government. António Guterres, the outgoing Prime Minister, was appointed to head the new government.

Round no 1 (10 October 1999): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 8 672 801
Voters 5 363 895 (62 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 106 780
Valid votes 5 257 115

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Socialist Party (PS) 43.99
Democratic Socialist Party (PSD) 32.32
United Democratic Coalition (CDU) 9.02
People's Party (PP) 8.38
Left Bloc (BE) 2.46
Others 1.85

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Socialist Party (PS) 113
Democratic Socialist Party (PSD) 83
United Democratic Coalition (CDU) 17
People's Party (PP) 15
Left Bloc (BE) 2
Others 0

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 187
Women: 43
Percent of women: 18.70

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Copyright © 1999 Inter-Parliamentary Union