LISBON - Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho admitted his conservative Social Democrat party’s “national defeat” in municipal polls Sunday, as voters vented their frustrations at the government’s austerity programme.
“We had the goal of retaining the majority of town halls but that didn’t happen,” Passos Coelho said, congratulating the opposition Socialists for their “significant victory”.
“As Prime Minister I will continue along the path we are on, which is essential in order to overcome the economic crisis and restore confidence and growth for Portugal,” said Passos Coelho.
“The SDP has suffered its worst results in municipal elections,” he said, calling the defeat the “price to pay” for the government’s austerity policies. According to partial results covering nearly 90 percent of the constituencies, the Socialists won 36.7 percent of the vote with the Social Democrats garnering just 18.9 percent.
At the previous municipal elections in 2009, the SDP, together with allied right-leaning parties, won a majority of the municipalities, securing 139 against 132 for the Socialists, who nonetheless won more individual votes.