The new [Antonio Ramalho Eanes] party-which calls itself the Democratic Renewal Party-cut into the Socialist vote so badly that the Socialist Party's share of the electorate dropped from 36% two years ago to 21% Sunday. It is weaker than at any time since the 1974 revolution that overthrew the Portuguese dictatorship.
With returns practically complete, the government provided these figures: Social Democrats, 29.8% of the vote and 85 assembly seats; Socialists, 20.8% and 55 seats; Eanes' party, 18% and 45 seats; Communists, 15.6% and 37 seats; Christian Democrats, 9.7% and 20 seats. Eight seats were still to be decided by the complicated proportional representation system.
The party offered them hope at a time when many Portuguese were chafing under the austerity program of Socialist Prime Minister Mario Soares. And, with Eanes himself directly in charge, it may have the potential to become a dominant political force here.