The rules of the Assembly of the Republic determine that the president of parliament is elected at the first plenary meeting of the legislature by an absolute majority of the votes of the deputies in office.

“The candidate José Pedro Aguiar-Branco is declared elected president of the Assembly of the Republic”, stated António Filipe, who presided over the first plenary session of the XVI legislature.

Before taking the stand to speak, the new president of parliament greeted parliamentary leaders from all benches.

In the same election, Chega deputy Rui Paulo Sousa ran, and obtained 50 votes, with 18 blank votes still being registered, in a vote in which 228 of the 230 deputies participated.

Aguiar-Branco was only elected on the fourth attempt after, at the end of the morning, PS and PSD announced an agreement that provides that the Social Democrats will only preside over parliament in the first two legislative sessions, until September 2026, and the Socialists will nominate a candidate for the rest of the legislature.

The votes obtained by the former Minister of Defense, 160, are slightly higher than the sum of the PSD, PS and CDS-PP benches (158).

With this vote, Aguiar-Branco surpassed that of the previous president of the Assembly of the Republic, Augusto Santos Silva, who had been elected on March 29, 2022, with 156 votes in favour, 63 blank and 11 nulls, in the first plenary session of the XV legislature, having been the only candidate for the position, nominated only by the Socialist Party.

However, this process was much more complicated, involving four votes.

The first attempt to elect the president of parliament, made by secret vote, began at 3 pm on Tuesday, then with only the social democratic deputy José Pedro Aguiar-Branco as candidate.

At 17:00, the first failure of this election for president of the Assembly of the Republic was announced, as the former Minister of Defense obtained 89 votes in favour, 134 blank and seven nulls.

About an hour later the PSD withdrew its candidacy, but at 7pm the former Minister of Defense resubmitted it.

At the same time, the PS decided to move forward with the candidacy of Francisco Assis and Chega of Manuela Tender.

In the first round, the socialist won by a short margin (90 against 88 for Aguiar-Branco) and Chega's deputy was left behind with 49 votes.

In the second round - the third election attempt -, another failure was repeated, with very similar results: 90 votes for Assis and 88 for Aguiar-Branco, without either achieving the necessary absolute majority of votes in favour.

Today's session was scheduled for noon, but successive postponements of the deadlines for submitting applications led to it starting after 3:00 pm.

Former minister and deputy José Pedro Aguiar-Branco thus returns to the Assembly of the Republic, five years after leaving parliament, as its leading figure.

José Pedro Correia de Aguiar-Branco was born in 1957, was a deputy between 2005 and 2019, having held the position of Minister of Defense in the Government led by Passos Coelho between 2011 and 2015 and Minister of Justice in the short-lived PSD/CDS-PP Government headed by Pedro Santana Lopes (2003-2004).

In the legislative elections on March 10, he was elected deputy for the AD coalition (which brings together PSD, CDS-PP and PPM) as head of the list for Viana do Castelo.

In addition to being a minister in two Governments led by the PSD, he was president of the social democratic parliamentary group in the XI Legislature and vice-president of the party from April 2008 to March 2010, during the leadership of Manuela Ferreira Leite.