Portuguese presidential election, January 2021

Author Details
Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2021
Content Type


Information Guide concerning the presidential election held in Portugal on 24 January 2021.

Further information:

Under Portuguese law, a candidate must receive a majority of votes (over 50%) to be elected. If no candidate achieved a majority in the first round, a runoff election should be held between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round.

The incumbent President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, announced in December 2020 his intention to run for re-election. There were six other candidates running for the Presidency, all of which supported by at least one political party. The electoral campaign took place as the third wave of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic unfolded across the country and amidst concerns over the socioeconomic impact of the restrictions imposed by the government. In this context, the rise of the far-right in Portugal was another of the main topics of the campaign - the leader of the radical right Chega! André Ventura stood for election and polls frequently placed him within reach of the second place in the election.

Mr Rebelo de Sousa managed to win the election in the first round, with around 60% of the votes. Ana Gomes - a member of governing centre-left Socialist Party (PS) which do not enjoy her party's formal support - came second with around 13%. Mr Ventura was third with around 12%. The election results further fed into the debate of the debate concerning the radical right in Portugal, until recently an outlier in Europe concerning the (lack of) success of this kind of political parties.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: 2021 Portuguese presidential election https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Portuguese_presidential_election
Politico: Poll of Polls: Portugal https://www.politico.eu/europe-poll-of-polls/portugal/#98316
Robert Schuman Foundation: European Elections Monitor: Analysis, 12/01/2021: Outgoing President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the main favourite in the presidential election on 24th January next in Portugal https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/eem/1900-outgoing-president-of-the-republic-marcelo-rebelo-de-sousa-the-main-favourite-in-the-presidential-election-on-24th-january-next-in-portugal
LSE: EUROPP Blog, 21/01/2021: The rise of Chega and the end of Portuguese exceptionalism https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2021/01/21/the-rise-of-chega-and-the-end-of-portuguese-exceptionalism/
Europe Elects, 24/01/2021: Portuguese Presidential Elections: The Anatomy of a Predestined Race https://europeelects.eu/2021/01/24/portuguese-presidential-elections-the-anatomy-of-a-predestined-race/
Robert Schuman Foundation: European Elections Monitor: Results, 26/01/2021: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is re-elected President of the Republic of Portugal in the first round https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/eem/1902-marcelo-rebelo-de-sousa-is-re-elected-president-of-the-republic-of-portugal-in-the-first-round
Euro|topics, January 2021: What do the presidential elections say about Portugal? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/255127/
Foreign Policy: Explainer, 26/01/2021: Was Portugal’s Election a Breakthrough for the Far-Right? https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/01/26/portugal-presidential-election-far-right-breakthrough-ventura-rebelo-sousa/

Politico, 22/01/2021: Portugal votes for a president amid record coronavirus infections https://www.politico.eu/article/portugal-president-election-2021-vote-coronavirus-infections/
Reuters, 23/01/2021: Portugal holds presidential election as COVID-19 cases spiral https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN29S0BU
France24, 24/01/2021: Portuguese urged to go vote in Sunday's presidential election, despite lockdown https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210124-portuguese-asked-to-break-lockdown-to-vote-in-presidential-election
Deutsche Welle, 24/01/2021: Portugal votes in presidential election amid coronavirus surge https://p.dw.com/p/3oLOa
Reuters, 24/01/2021: Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa wins new term in socially distanced ballot https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN29T08M
Associated Press, 25/01/2021: Center-right incumbent wins Portugal’s presidential election https://apnews.com/article/64e2a33bcd4109ec1485cc8648517b7e
VOA News, 25/01/2021: Portugal Chooses President Amid Severe Pandemic Surge https://www.voanews.com/europe/portugal-chooses-president-amid-severe-pandemic-surge
The Guardian, 25/01/2021: Portugal's centre-right president re-elected but far right gains ground https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/25/portugals-centre-right-president-re-elected-but-far-right-gains-ground

Subject Categories
Subject Tags ,
Countries / Regions