Portugal's centre-right leader Luis Montenegro appointed prime minister

Centre-right leader Luis Montenegro was appointed prime minister of Portugal on Wednesday night, but will have to form a coalition government and grapple with a growing far right after his party's narrow victory in parliamentary elections.

The 51-year-old lawyer and veteran parliamentarian succeeds the Socialist Party's Antonio Costa, who was in power since 2015.

His Democratic Alliance (AD) had campaigned on promises to boost economic growth by cutting taxes, and to improve unreliable public health services and education, which have been hit by strikes by teachers and school workers over pay.

Montenegro will present his new government next Wednesday, with it due to take office on April 2, the newly elected leader told reporters after a meeting with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Their meeting marked the end of the process of naming a new prime minister.

Montenegro's AD beat the incumbent Socialist Party (PS) in March 10 elections but won just 79 seats, far short of a majority in the 230-seat parliament.

Even with the backing of the tiny business-friendly Liberal Initiative (IL) party, the AD would still need the support of anti-immigration party Chega to reach a majority of 116 seats in the assembly.

Growing far right

The election was called after Costa, 62, unexpectedly resigned in November following an influence-peddling investigation that involved a search of his official residence and the arrest of his chief of staff.

The PS came second in the elections, with 28 percent of the vote and 78 seats in parliament.

But Montenegro has ruled out forming a coalition with Chega, saying he intends to form a minority government.


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