The final result of the recent legislative elections has been announced, with the emigrant constituency returning four MPs, two each for the PS and PSD. However, it is reported that many of the votes cast in this constituency may be annulled due to suspected voter fraud. The PSD is seeking to accelerate the process of electing a new leader. Some doctors are calling for an end to Covid restrictions, and a cyber security expert has warned that hackers may seek to exploit the weakness exposed by the attack on Vodafone.
Lusa, Público, CNN PT and DN report on the provisional declaration of the final four parliamentary seats in the recent legislative elections. The emigrant constituency gives the PS and PSD another two deputies each, giving each the PSD 119 MPs and the PSD 78. Expresso, CNN PT and RTP add that the final result of this constituency may not be known until next Tuesday, as the PS has stated it intends to submit an appeal to the Constitutional Court against the decision to annul votes collected in polling stations that combined valid votes with votes considered invalid because they were not accompanied by a copy of the voter’s citizen card. RTP notes the annulment of these ballots could affect up to 80% of the votes from European countries.
Expresso notes that with leading figures within the PSD close to leadership contender Luís Montenegro, claiming “June is an eternity”, district branches of the party will meet next week in an attempt to agree on procedures to speed up the election of Rui Rio’s successor.
Lusa cites Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva who says Portugal has donated around seven million Covid-19 vaccines, with half of them being sent to Portuguese-speaking African countries and East Timor.
CNN PT carries an interview with a number of doctors who welcomed the statement by Director-General of Health Graça Freitas that Portugal may soon end the mandatory isolation of asymptomatic patients, adding that they would like to see Portugal follow the example set in England, stating “the beginning of spring will be the right time to end the isolation of those who test positive for Covid-19”.
Lusa carries a preliminary report from the National Statistics Institute that shows Portugal’s exports and imports increased by 6% and 3.2%, respectively, last year compared to 2019, the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic. Compared to 2020, exports and imports of goods increased by 18.1% and 21.1%, respectively, with the trade deficit growing by €4.6 billion to €19 billion.
Público and Dinheiro Vivo cite former finance minister and current governor of the Bank of Portugal (BoP), Mário Centeno, claiming that “In 2021, the budget deficit will be very close to 3%, perhaps even already complying with the budgetary treaties: that is, it will probably be less than 3%”. Negócios adds that Centeno claims that applying EU Recovery and Resilience funds must be a “top priority” and that not “making every effort” to reduce the deficit and debt at the same time as applying the funds would be “inexcusable”, while warning that “it will have a negative effect” when the next European budgetary framework is discussed.
Dinheiro Vivo reports the unemployment rate stood at 6.6% last year, down 0.4 percentage points from the estimated rate for 2020, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). The reduction corresponds to 12,000 fewer people classified as unemployed in 2021 compared with the previous year. INE estimates an annual average of 338,800 people were unemployed last year.