Luis Montenegro: Center-right leader calls for minority government

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Luis Montenegro has repeatedly insisted that he will not work with the far-right Sega party

Portugal's president has called on centre-right politician Luis Montenegro to form a minority government.

The Alliance for Democracy (AD) won elections this month, but fell short of a majority in parliament.

The party rejected working with the far-right Sega Party, which won a record number of seats.

Ruled by socialists since 2015, Portugal now has its most fragmented parliament since the end of its dictatorship half a century ago.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa invited Mr Montenegro to become prime minister shortly after midnight on Thursday after consulting with party leaders.

“The President of the Republic decided to appoint Dr. Luis Montenegro as Prime Minister, as the Democratic Alliance won the elections based on mandates and votes and the General Secretary of the Socialist Party confirmed that he would be the Leader of the Opposition.” According to a statement issued by the Presidential Administration.

AD won 80 seats, far short of the 116 required for a majority. The party will need the support of either the Socialists, who hold 78 seats, or Sega, which won 50 seats (enough) to pass the law.

Mr Montenegro on Wednesday declined to answer questions about how he would build a majority in parliament before he appoints his ministers.

“All issues related to the functioning of the government will be taken up when the government is there, informed and explained when the government is there,” he told reporters. “There is a relative, not an absolute, majority.”

The AD chief has repeatedly insisted that he will not work with Sega. Party leader and former football commentator Andre Ventura hopes to play kingmaker in the new parliament.

Mr Montenegro will succeed Antonio Costa, who has led the Iberian country since 2015 as Socialist Party leader. But despite not being named as a suspect in the investigation, he resigned four months ago amid allegations of corruption.

Low salaries and rising rents have led voters to become increasingly dissatisfied with the centre-left regime.

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