Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated António Costa on becoming the 119th Prime Minister of Portugal after good performance in the Portugal Parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Modi also wrote about looking forward to working with Antonio Costa to further enhance India-Portugal friendship.
Congratulations to @psocialista and my friend, @antoniocostapm for the good performance in the parliamentary elections in Portugal. Looking forward to continuing working together to further enhance India-Portugal friendship. pic.twitter.com/ELtP5ZayyX— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 7, 2019
In Portugal, however, political tradition is still what it used to be. The two mainstream parties are expected to garner most votes in Sunday’s ballot, with the center-left Socialist Party showing an opinion poll lead of at least 7 percentage points over the center-right Social Democratic Party. There is a broad consensus in Portugal that migrants are indispensable, to fill unskilled jobs and help offset a demographic time bomb as a low birth rate depletes the national population. That has denied oxygen to nationalist parties, which have remained tiny and on the political fringe.
Immigration is not even an election issue. That may be because the European Union’s migrant surge has largely bypassed Portugal. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants have crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa to southern Europe, triggering a backlash in Italy and Spain. Portugal doesn’t lie on those geographic routes, and as one of western Europe’s financially poorest countries, its appeal to migrants is muted. The number of asylum-seekers in Germany and France, together numbering more than 300,000 last year, dwarf Portugal’s total, which barely reached four figures. If migration reached a similar scale in Portugal, the Portuguese could swiftly change their attitude, says Antonio Costa Pinto, a professor at Lisbon University’s Social Sciences Institute.
(With inputs from AP)