On Monday (26 April), with most of the Portuguese general election results in, the Socialist party, led by Dr.
On Monday (26 April), with most of the Portuguese general election results in, the Socialist party, led by Dr. Mario Soares, had emerged as the leading force in the country's Legislative Assembly. But their share of the vote make sit unlikely that they will be able to govern on their own.
With all but a few votes counted, they had won 35 per cent of the vote, and were well ahead of their nearest rivals. The electoral system means that the Socialists will probably have a larger number of deputies elected than their share of the vote would indicate.
The right-wig backlash which had been expected after two years of political turbulence, did not fully materialise. The right-wing Centre Democrat Party (CDS), led by Mr. Freitas da Amaral, more than doubled the seven per cent vote it gained in last year's election for the Constitutional Assembly, which was dissolved before the election.
The CDS won 15.76 per cent of the vote, while their left-wing opposite numbers, the Communists, gained 14.73 per cent. However the CDS may suffer under Portugal's system of proportional representation, which favours parties like the Socialists and Communists, who tend to gain big votes in certain districts.
Portugal's Popular Democrat Party (PPD), led by Dr. Francisco Sa Carneiro, won just under 24 per cent of the vote. Regarded as a party of the middle-ground, the PPD's 49 deputies, who were elected on Sunday, are not likely to support the socialists unless they are given a share of Cabinet posts. The PPD has made it clear that if they are rejected by the Socialists, they are ready to form an alliance with the CDS.
Dr. Mario Soares, the Secretary-General of the socialists, said on Monday morning that his party would only join a "government of national salvation" -- in other words a coalition -- if there was a national emergency such as the risk of civil war. But he made it clear that he thought it was a remote possibility at present.
"We think the process of consolidation democracy has made progress," said Dr. Soares, "and this election was proof of it. The time for provisional governments is over and we should now switch to single-party governments".
On Tuesday (27 April) Dr. Sa Carneiro threatened to withdraw the PPD from the present coalition if the Socialists persisted in trying to form a minority government. He stressed the need for a coalition government, which he said, might m\be the last chance for Portuguese democracy.
(This film is serviced with a sound extract of remarks made by Dr. Soares (in French), Dr. Carneiro (in Portuguese), and Mr. Da Amaral (in English) at informal news conferences on Monday. Mr. Da Amaral's remarks are transcribed below.)