Portuguese legislative election, 1991
The Portuguese legislative election of 1991 took place on 6 October. The Social Democratic Party, under the lead of Cavaco Silva, won a historic third term and won with an absolute majority for the second consecutive turn, achieving a higher share than in the previous election, losing, however, 13 MPs due to the reduction of the overall number from the original 250 to 230. Cavaco Silva became the first Prime Minister since Hintze Ribeiro in 1904 to lead a party into three successive democratic election victories.
The Socialist Party, at the time led by Jorge Sampaio, the future President of Portugal, increased the share by 7% and gained 12 MPs, but did not manage to avoid the absolute majority of the Social Democrats. In the first legislative election after the fall of the Eastern Bloc, the communist dominated Democratic Unity Coalition lost much of its electoral influence, losing 14 MPs and 4% of the voting.
On the right, the CDS could not recover its past influence, mainly to the effect of the useful vote by the right-wing voters in the Social Democratic Party, increasing its parliamentary group by only 1 MP. The National Solidarity Party, using a populist campaign, achieved for the first time an MP, in what would be the only presence of such party in the Parliament.
Voter turnout fell to 67.8%, and for the first time below 70% of the electorate.
The major parties involved and the respective leaders:
- Democratic Unity Coalition (CDU), Álvaro Cunhal
- Socialist Party (PS), Jorge Sampaio
- Social Democratic Party (PSD), Cavaco Silva
- CDS - People's Party (CDS), Manuel Monteiro
Aníbal Cavaco Silva, leader of the Social Democratic Party, was nominated Prime Minister for the third consecutive time.
The following table shows the opinion polls of voting intention of the Portuguese voters before the election. Those parties that are listed are currently represented in parliament. Included is also the result of the Portuguese general elections in 1987 and 1991 for reference.
Note, until 2000, the publication of opinion polls in the last week of the campaign was forbidden.
National summary of votes and seats
|Democratic Unity Coalition[A]||504,583||8.80||3.3||31||17||14||7.39||5.0||0.84|
|Democratic and Social Centre||254,317||4.43||0.0||4||5||1||2.17||0.6||0.49|
|National Solidarity Party||96,096||1.68||—||—||1||—||0.44||—||0.39|
|Revolutionary Socialist Party||64,159||1.12||0.5||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Workers' Communist Party||48,542||0.85||0.5||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|People's Monarchist Party||25,216||0.44||0.0||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Democratic Party of the Atlantic||10,842||0.19||—||—||0||—||0.00||—||0.0|
|Left Revolutionary Front||6,661||0.12||—||—||0||—||0.00||—||0.0|
|People's Democratic Union[B]||6,157||0.11||0.8||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Total (turnout 67.78%)||5,735,431||100.00||3.8|
|A Portuguese Communist Party (15 MPs) and "The Greens" (2 MPs) ran in coalition.
B People's Democratic Union electoral list only in Madeira and Azores.
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|