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Friday Briefing: It's the final countdown!

Atualizado: 8 de mar.

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. We are two days away from one of Portugal’s most disputed elections, so it seems only fair to ask: and then what?

TALK OF THE TOWN



POLITICS

The National Electoral Commission stressed on Tuesday that each voter's ballot “will count exactly as they chose” after the leader of far-right CHEGA claimed that an attempt was being made to “distort the result” of the elections (More).
The last polls before Sunday’s election show that the AD now has a 6 point lead over the Socialists. But the undecided voters remain high at 16% meaning that no scenario can be ruled out (More).

SOCIETY

Today is International Women’s Day. The Economist’s "glass-ceiling index" published this week ranked Portugal 6th in terms of the working environment for women (More).
Roughly 215,000 Portuguese have requested self-exclusion from online gambling platforms, a new study has revealed. More than 40% of the players are in Lisbon and Porto and 35% are aged between 25 and 34 years old (More).

ECONOMICS

Financial agency Standard & Poor’s raised Portugal's credit rating to “A-”. This is the first time in 13 years that Portugal is rated at ‘A’ level by all the financial rating agencies, signalling its recovery from the debt crisi (More).
24 hours after the Pulse luxury complex in Lisbon was announced, all of its one-bedroom units and most of its two-bedrooms units have been booked, with the cheapest costing 805 thousand euros (More).

CULTURE AND SPORTS

António Pedro Vasconcelos, one of Portugal's finest filmmakers, has died at the age of 84. Throughout his career, he won 2 Cannes Film Festival Awards, 2 Portuguese Golden Globes and 3 Portuguese Academy Awards (More).
Considered by many to be one of voices of Cape Verde’s new music generation, singer Nancy Vieira debuts today her new album, Gente, at Lisbon's São Luiz Municipal Theatre (More).

IN FOCUS

WHEN WILL PORTUGAL HAVE A NEW GOVERNMENT?

Forget winning the election - the question on everyone’s mind on Sunday night is: can anybody can form a new Government? To answer that question, look out in the results if either the moderated right (AD+Liberals) or the left (PS+Communists+Left Bloc+Livre) have won a majority of seats in Parliament. And then what?

  1. Is there a deadline for the President to swear in a Government? No. The Constitution does not set any post-election limits or deadlines for the new Government to take office. It only instructs the President to appoint a new Government on the basis of the election results. The President cannot impose conditions on the formation of the Government, neither does he have a deadline to make this own decision.

  2. What does the law exactly say? The electoral law says that the final vote count must be finalised 10 days after the election. This means March 20. The National Electoral Commission must then draw up and publish an official map of the results in the Diário da República within 8 days. This means March 28. Whatever happens next is anybody’s guess at this point.

  3. Can the President refuse to swear in a Government? In practice, yes. There are no legal deadlines for swearing in a new Government, so the President can drag out the decision for as long as he likes. However, new elections can only be called six months after the last ones and the President cannot dissolve the Assembly in the last six months of his term. This means the President can call only new elections between October 2024 and early 2026.

  4. What if the PR swears in a new Government but the Parliament doesn't approve its programme? The Government falls, and everything starts again. This is a likely outcome if no party is able to form a stable majority in Parliament. If this is the case, the Government sword in by the President will remain in office - with its limited functions - until there is a new Government or new elections.

  5. Can the current Government remain in office if the negotiations fail? Yes - although this is a very unlikely scenario. If the President calls for negotiations between parties and the negotiations fail, in theory at least, the President could refuse to swear in a minority Government and keep the current Government in office (albeit with very limited functions) until there are new elections. However, this hypothesis is seen as very remote from the point of view of Government stability and democratic legitimacy.

TIPS OF THE WEEK

Lisbon

The Art of Biography



On March 13-14, a group of the world’s most renowned authors of the genred will discuss the art of biography. What is specific about a literary genre based in the Greek work Βιογραφία, which combines life (bios) and account (graphia)? And why did it only gain recognition in Europe in the 19th century, two thousand years after Plutarch wrote Parallel Lives, bringing to life Pericles, Alcibiades and Julius Ceasar? The event will take place at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Auditorium 2 and livestreamed online with simultaneous translation in Portuguese and English. Free entry, subject to room capacity.


PZ’s O Fim do Mundo em Cuecas



Sense of humour, musical imagination and uncanny ability to write songs about the mundane issues follow Paulo Zé Pimenta, aka PZ, wherever he goes. But there is more to the act than just an easy laugh: His lyrics rapidly go from nonsense jokes to straight ironic or sarcastic comments about society. On O Fim do Mundo em Cuecas (“The End of the World in Underpants”), the Porto-based artist presents an epic tragicomedy of modern times, covering everyday themes as well as his inner (and outer) struggles. Catch him live at Lux at 10.30pm on March 15. Tickets are 12€.

Porto

Fantasporto - International Film Festival of Porto



Fantasporto, also known as Fantas, is an international film festival, organized annually since 1981 in Porto. Dedicated to fantasy/science fiction/horror-oriented commercial feature films, auteur films and experimental projects from all over the world, Fantasporto has created enthusiastic audiences, ranging from cinephiles to more popular spectators, with an annual average of 110,000 attendees. It was rated in Variety as one of the 25 leading festivals of the world. The 44th edition of the Fantasporto takes place until March 10 at Batalha Centro de Cinema.

Elsewhere

National Song Festival 2024



Who will represent Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 in Sweden? The 2024 Song Festival to select the Portuguese entry for the Eurovision Song Contest consists of two semi-finals on 24 February and 2 March and the grand final on 9 March, which will be broadcast live on Saturday night at RTP. The 2024 edition of the Song Contest broadly follows the model of previous years and will have 20 songs competing. According to the bookmakers, Iolanda’s Grito is the clear favourite to win.

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