New Portugal govt to be sworn in before EU summit - papers

7th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Portugal's new government could be sworn in before a summit of EU leaders on June 23 to allow the leader of the winning party in weekend elections to attend as prime minister, reports said Tuesday.

The new government will be charged with pushing through deep spending cuts and economic reforms under a bailout agreement reached in May with the European Union and the Internatinal Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in exchange for a 78 billion euro ($114 billion) bailout.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva on Monday instructed the head of the centre-right Social Democrats, Pedro Passos Coelho, to "immediately" begin work on putting together a coalition government that has a majority in parliament.

"Given the situation the country finds itself in, it would be good if the government is sworn in as quickly as possible," the president was quoted as saying late on Monday after meeting with Passos Coelho by several newspapers.

"If nothing unusual happens with the counting of the votes of Portuguese abroad, I think it will be possible for this to take place before or on the 23rd," he added.

Under the Portuguese constitution the president can only nominate the prime minister once the final official results of the election, including the overseas ballots, are published, which will be on June 15.

The Social Democrats won 105 seats in the 230-seat legislature in Sunday's election and Passos Coelho has said he will seek to govern with the smaller conservative CDS-PP party which garnered 24 seats.

© 2011 AFP

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