Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Opposition wins Portugal election


Al Jazeera

Social Democrat leader vows to do “everything possible” to honour bailout commitments after defeating ruling Socialists.

Portugal’s centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) have won the country’s general election, defeating prime minister Jose Socrates’ Socialists who had sought a $114bn bailout that will bring deep spending cuts.

The PSD captured 38.6 per cent of Sunday’s vote against 28 per cent for the Socialists, the interior ministry said after only the results of votes cast abroad were left to count.

The result leaves the PSD short of a majority but party leader Pedro Passos Coelho said he would immediately seek to form a coalition government with the conservative CDS-PP party which won 11.7 per cent of the vote.

The parties are expected to work fast on Monday to form a majority. Paulo Portas, the CDS-PP leader, has said he is ready to rule together with the Social Democrats.

In his victory speech, Passos Coelho vowed that Lisbon will do “everything possible” to honour its bailout commitments so as “not to be a burden” to its creditors.

“I want to guarantee to those who are watching us from abroad that Portugal does not intend to be a burden for the future to other countries that lent us the means that we needed today to face up to our responsibilities,” he said.

The bailout is conditional on measures that include tax hikes, a freeze on state pensions and salaries and a reduction in unemployment benefits as well as their duration.

“The years ahead are going to require much courage on the part of all of Portugal. This is going to be difficult but it is going to be worth it,” Passos Coelho said.

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Bill Bard says:

Nothing will change……. too late.


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