Portugal's new government needs MPs' backing: president

25th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The new Portuguese government to be elected on June 5 must be able to count on "majority support" in parliament, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said on Monday.

"Considering the challenges that await it, the government elected in elections on June 5 should have majority support in the Assembly," the head of state said at an event to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution which ushered in democracy in 1974.

Calling for "responsible behaviour" to overcome "permanent tensions" between political parties, Cavaco Silva said it was "imperative to create spaces of harmony to assure stable and credible government solutions."

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigned in March after failing to win parliamentary support for stiff austerity measures, forcing him to seek a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout to repay nearly five billion euros ($7 billion) in maturing debt.

"Even before the elections, the government and political parties must attempt to engage in dialogue," said Cavaco Silva as an EU-IMF team continued crisis talks with Portuguese political and business leaders.

Other former heads of state also used the anniversary event to call for national cohesion and dialogue.

Socialist ex-president Mario Soares underlined "the crucial need for the Portuguese to unite around the big reforms required", while lamenting a "lack of European solidarity" in response to the eurozone's debt crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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