Sunday

9th May 2021

Portugal president asks left-wingers for EU and Nato pledge

  • Besides the Communists, Costa also needs the backing of the Left Bloc and Greens (Photo: David Baxendale)

Portugal’s political crisis entered a new phase on Monday (23 November), when president Anibal Cavaco Silva asked for guarantees from leftist parties, especially on next year’s budget, before allowing the formation of a government by Socialists.

Silva did not name the Socialist leader Antonio Costa prime minister, but asked him to start work to form a coalition.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The conservative president wants guarantees

the leftist factions, which include the anti-euro and anti-Nato Communists, would respect Portugal’s EU and Nato commitments.

The move comes amid ongoing political uncertainty, with Portugal still without a government after inconclusive elections on 4 October.

The centre-right party of outgoing prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho won most of the votes, but failed to win an outright majority.

The president first tasked Coelho with forming a minority government. But it was toppled by leftist parties in parliament just 10 days after coming to power.

Cavaco Silva set out six areas where he wants Communist guarantees. He asked them to commit to approving the budget for next year, stick to EU budgetary rules, and respect Portugal’s commitments in Nato.

Other issues include the stability of Portugal’s financial system, trade unions, and parliamentary confidence motions.

The Communists reacted angrily, however.

“There is no reason for the president to demand conditions and guarantees ... This is a new attempt by Cavaco Silva to subvert the constitution and will have a corresponding democratic response by workers and the people,” Jeronimo Sousa, the leader of Communists, was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Sousa said the president is “responsible for the political and institutional consequences for decisions that contribute to worsening the national situation and promoting confrontation between different sovereign organs.”

Costa, the Socialist leader, has said his agreements with the far-left are stable and that he is confident about the approval of a 2016 budget.

Portuguese media report Costa, on Monday, also sent a letter of reply to the president, but the content of the text is not known.

Analysts warn the stalemate could undermine Portugal's economic recovery after the country exited its EU bailout in 2014.

It already failed to submit a budget plan to the EU Commission on time.

Besides the Communists, Costa also needs the backing of the Left Bloc and Greens in parliament to secure a majority.

The left-wing coalition plans to roll back some of austerity measures, as well as the privatisation scheme introduced by Coelho’s government.

It wants to lift the minimum wage, end a freeze on state pensions, and remove extraordinary tax levies.

Coelho re-elected as PM of Portugal

Centre-right PSD/CDS coalition clinched victory Sunday evening, but didn't get an absolute majority and will need the socialists to rule.

Analysis

How Portugal's leftist 'contraption' works

After six months in power, the improvised left-wing coalition between socialists, leftists and communists has managed to rule and even thrived, to many Portuguese's surprise.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Czech minister plotted to bury evidence on Russian attack
  2. Putin promotes Russia's 'Kalashnikov-like' vaccine
  3. Coronavirus: Indian variant clusters found across England
  4. UN report encourages EU methane cuts
  5. EU court upholds ban on bee-harming pesticides
  6. Israeli tourists welcomed back by EU
  7. EU duped into funding terrorist group, Israel says
  8. Brussels prepares portfolio of potential Covid-19 treatments

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin's parade
  2. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  3. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  4. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit
  5. EU preparing to send soldiers to Mozambique
  6. EU now 'open' to vaccine waiver, after Biden U-turn
  7. EU mulls using new 'peace' fund to help Libyan coast guard
  8. Poland 'breaks EU law' over judges, EU court opinion says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us