"A week and a day after the rejection of the Budget for 2022 I find myself in a position to communicate to you that I have decided to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic and call elections for 30 January 2022," Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said in a speech addressed to the country from the Palácio de Belém in Lisbon.

The head of state said that "at times like this there is always a democratic solution, without drama or fear, it is part of the very life of democracy: to give the word back to the people.

On the choice of election date, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa argued that "electoral campaigning as well as audiovisual debates that must precede it" at Christmas or around New Year "are, by all accounts, undesirable."

"The sensible thing is to aim for debates and campaigning, starting in 2022, but not on New Year's Day, and still have elections in January - as I said from the first moment -, making the desirable speed compatible with the due attention to a sensitive period in people's lives," he added.

The President of the Republic said that, under the terms of the Constitution, he had listened to the parties with parliamentary representation, the Council of State, which gave a favourable opinion, by a majority, on the dissolution of parliament, and analysed the economic, social and financial situation before making this communication to the country.

At the end of his message, he addressed the Portuguese people, saying: "I trust in you, in your patriotism, in your democratic spirit, in your experience and in your common sense. As always, in decisive moments, it is the Portuguese, and they alone, who are the best guarantee of Portugal's future".

Under the Constitution, it falls to the President of the Republic to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic, after hearing the parties represented in it, which happened on Saturday, and the Council of State, which met for this purpose on Wednesday.

On Saturday, the PCP and PEV considered that there was no need for the dissolution of parliament and BE also expressed an opinion contrary to this option of the head of state. The PAN had also previously considered that there were other possibilities.

As for dates for early parliamentary elections, PSD and CDS-PP indicated a preference for 9 or 16 January, PS, PCP, PEV and Chega 16 January, BE defended elections from that date, PAN between late January and early February and Liberal Initiative not before 30 January.

On Wednesday, the Council of State "gave a favourable opinion, by majority, to the proposal of his Excellency the President of the Republic to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic," according to the statement released at the end of the meeting.

The Electoral Law for the Assembly of the Republic states that candidates for legislative elections must be presented by the 41st day prior to the date set for the elections, a deadline that in this case is 20 December.

The campaign period - which according to the law starts on the 14th day before and ends at midnight on the day before the elections - will be from 16 to 28 January.

The State Budget for 2022 was rejected in the general vote on 27 October, with votes against by PSD, BE, PCP, CDS-PP, PEV, Chega and Iniciativa Liberal. It only received votes in favour from the PS benches and abstentions from PAN and non-attached Members Joacine Katar Moreira and Cristina Rodrigues.

The head of state warned of a dissolution scenario two weeks earlier, on 13 October, after PCP and BE waved their vote against, saying that a lead to the government's proposal would "very likely" lead to early legislative elections, which he estimated would be held in January.

In the days that followed, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa repeated the warning and made it clear that if the lead to the Budget was confirmed, he would immediately move forward with the dissolution process, while at the same time reiterating his hope for an understanding "until the last second" before the vote.