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Key parties in Portugal’s snap election

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

– Socialist Party –

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

It has governed Portugal the longest since the return to democracy after 1974 when a dictatorship was toppled.

Led by former Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa, the party has 108 MPs in the 230-seat parliament after winning 36 percent of the vote in 2019.

– Social Democratic Party –

Founded in 1974 just two weeks after the military coup that toppled the decades-long dictatorship, the centre-right PSD has for decades been the Socialists’ main rival. It has 79 seats in the outgoing assembly.

The party has climbed in the polls since it re-elected the former mayor of second-city Porto, Rui Rio, as its leader in November, turning the page on a long period of internal turmoil.

It 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 –

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

– 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.

It calls for tougher Covid-19 confinement rules for the Roma people, more support for the police and the castration of sex offenders.

– Liberal Initiative –

The libertarian party has one seat in the outgoing assembly but polls show it could win several more, making it a potential kingmaker.

It calls for a flat income tax rate, a reduction in the number of civil servants and has opposed pandemic restrictions on social life.

– Communist Party –

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 was sidelined for most of the campaign after he underwent 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.

– Democratic and Social Centre Party –

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 riddled with internal divisions and risks losing votes to new formations.