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Key parties in Portugal’s snap election

Portugal holds an early general election on January 30. Here are the main parties contesting the vote:

– Socialist Party (PS) –

The centre-left PS has governed at the helm of a minority government since 2015 with parliamentary support from two smaller hard-left allies, the Communist Party and the Left Bloc.

It is the formation that has governed Portugal the longest since the country returned to democracy after the toppling of a rightist dictatorship in 1974.

Led by former Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa, the party has 108 MPs in the 230-seat parliament and polls suggest it will come on top but again fall short of a majority.

– Social Democratic Party (PSD) –

Founded in 1974 just two weeks after the military coup that toppled the decades-long dictatorship, the centre-right PSD is the main opposition party with 79 seats in the outgoing assembly.

The party is plagued by internal divisions with its leader Rui Rio, a former mayor of second city Porto, facing three leadership challenges over the past four years.

But the PSD made surprising gains in last year’s local elections, netting several cities, including the capital Lisbon where former European commissioner Carlos Moedas became mayor.

– Left Bloc (BE) –

Born in 1999 out of the fusion of several tiny far-left parties, the Left Bloc is close to Spain’s Podemos and Greece’s Syriza.

It has 19 seats in the outgoing parliament but risks being punished at the polls for breaking with the Socialists and helping spark the snap election.

Headed since 2012 by former actress Catarina Martins, it is close to the Communists — the other formation which backed the Socialists — in terms of economic policy but is less staunchly opposed to Portugal’s EU membership.

It defends liberal policies on social issues such as legalising euthanasia and cannabis that are popular with urban voters.

– Communist Party (CDU)

Unlike most of its European peers, Portugal’s Communist Party has never shunned Marxist orthodoxy and it rejects the EU as capitalist.

The main opposition force against the old right-wing dictatorship, it has been led since 2004 by Jeronimo de Sousa, 74, a former metalworker who dropped out of campaigning for several days for an urgent heart procedure.

The party has run with the Greens in an alliance since the environmental party was formed in 1982. Together they have 12 seats in the outgoing assembly.

– Chega –

Founded in 2019, Chega, or “Enough”, won one seat in parliament that same year, a first for a far-right party since the end of Portugal’s dictatorship.

Led by tough-talking former sports commentator Andre Ventura, polls suggest it could become the third-largest party in parliament.

Its anti-immigration and anti-feminist positions echo those of Spain’s Vox and Italy’s League party.

– People-Animals-Nature Party (PAN) –

Founded in 2009 by a Buddhist philosopher, PAN calls for a ban on bullfighting and has often sided with the Socialists.

It has four seats and could win several more this time around, making it a potential kingmaker.

– Christian Democratic Party (CDS-PP) –

The conservative CDS-PP is the PSD’s traditional ally. The two parties governed in a coalition between 2011 and 2015.

The party has five seats but it is also riddled with internal divisions and risks losing votes to new formations.