Portuguese Socialists, Left Bloc and Communists Look Set to Govern.
Socialists ready to head left-wing coalition in Portugal
Three left-of-centre parties in Portugal say they have reached a deal to form a government after last month’s inconclusive general election.
It means the centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho now looks set to fail in its attempt to stay in office.
Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa fought the election promising to ease back on austerity.
He has the support of two smaller far-left parties, including the Communists.
Mr Passos Coelho’s centre-right party polled just under 37% in October’s election, with the Socialists on over 32%.
He was sworn in for a second term, but earlier this week he said his coalition appeared to have lost its absolute majority in parliament.
With 99 seats in the 230-seat parliament, the ruling coalition fell 17 seats short of the number it needed.
Mr Passos Coelho had indicated that he was ready to talk to other parties in parliament to pursue the “necessary reforms” he wants to implement.
But the Socialists, the Communists and the Left Bloc between them have 122 seats, enough for a parliamentary majority.
Left Bloc won 10% of the vote, securing 19 seats, while the Communists took 8% of the vote.
“The conditions are in place to bring down the right-wing coalition government and for the Socialist Party to form a government,” said the Portuguese Communist Party in a statement late on Friday.
Many in Portugal, including President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, are concerned about the impact on the country’s finances and international standing if the far-left gains influence in government, the BBC Alison Roberts in Lisbon reports.
But the president could soon have little choice but to ask the Socialist leader to take over.
A vote on the centre-right administration’s programme is due on Tuesday, and if it loses, the government will fall.
“If I am not prime minister as of Tuesday it will be because the Socialists did not let me continue,” said Mr Passos Coelho.
This follows the same story in El País yesterday.
The Communist Party of Portugal announced late on Friday that it had reached a deal with the Socialists to form a government of the left. An agreement ending 40 years of differences.
The announcement of the PC plus by the Bloco de Esquerdas yesterday, is that the socialist party led by António Costa is willing to offer an alternative government overrides attempts by the country’s president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, to usher in, the current government, which took office seven days ago.
The left alliance totals 122 votes to 107 on the right coalition.
The change over will take place in a Parliamentary vote to reject the new right-wing government on Tuesday.
The Communists and their allies in the union federation, the CGTP, plan a mass demonstration on that day outside the National Assembly.
El País remarks that this recalls a large protest outside the same building 40 years ago, which forced the MPs to abandon the edifice where a new constitution was being drafted.
The present Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has not lost hope of clinging onto office.
“The incoming government of Portugal will most probably prove to be the briefest in modern Portuguese history.”
By Dick Nichols Will Portugal finally see the end of austerity as administered for four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People’s Party (CDS-PP)?
Une nouvelle situation politique au Portugal ? (Ensemble interview with Francisco Louçã, economist and former spokesperson for the Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc).