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Luis Montenegro Named Portugal’s Prime Minister

After eight years of Socialist rule in Portugal, Luis Montenegro, leader of the centre-right Democratic Alliance (AD), has been appointed as the new prime minister. However, his minority government faces challenges due to his refusal to ally with the far-right Chega party.

Fragile Minority Government

  • Montenegro’s appointment marks the return of a centre-right leader to the prime minister’s office after more than eight years.
  • Despite his party’s victory in the recent election, the AD falls short of a majority in the parliament, with only 80 out of 230 seats.
  • Montenegro’s rejection of a coalition with the far-right Chega party leaves his government in a fragile position, necessitating negotiations with other parties for legislative support.

Challenges and Opposition

  • Both the Chega party and the Socialists have stated their non-opposition to Montenegro’s ascension but are prepared to oppose his legislative agenda.
  • Montenegro’s criticism of Chega as racist and xenophobic complicates potential alliances, requiring him to navigate delicate negotiations in parliament.

Montenegro’s Agenda and Leadership

  • Montenegro aims to implement policies differing from nearly a decade of centre-left governance, focusing on tax cuts and supporting the private sector.
  • As a lawyer from Porto, Montenegro brings an everyman persona to leadership, having previously served as president of the Social Democratic party.

Immediate Tests and Future Prospects

  • Montenegro’s immediate challenge lies in passing the 2025 budget, crucial for the stability of his government.
  • Opposition leader Pedro Nuno Santos promises a strong opposition, potentially complicating Montenegro’s legislative efforts.
  • However, there’s a possibility of modest support from the Socialists for amendments to the 2024 budget, indicating a potential avenue for cooperation amidst political differences.

Background and Resignation of António Costa

  • Montenegro’s rise comes amidst a backdrop of voter discontent over corruption, low wages, housing costs, and anti-establishment sentiment fueled by the Chega party.
  • António Costa, the outgoing prime minister, resigned over allegations of corruption and influence peddling, although he denies any wrongdoing and has not been formally charged.

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