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Coelho reappointed PM: Portuguese president

Portugal’s president on Thursday reappointed outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho and tasked him with forming a new right-leaning coalition, despite the lack of a majority in parliament.

“I have designated Mr Passos Coelho as prime minister because he is the head of the coalition which won the October 4 parliamentary elections,” conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in a televised address.

Coelho’s coalition took more than 38 percent of votes in the election despite overseeing four years of painful austerity in the bailed-out country, but it lost its absolute parliamentary majority.

Trailing in second place was the Socialist Party, whose leader Antonio Costa also staked a claim to become prime minister, insisting he could form a government with support from anti-liberal leftist parties.

“The last word is now with parliament,” Cavaco Silva said, adding that a rejection of the government’s programme by an absolute majority of lawmakers would force the new government to step down.

Passos Coelho must put together a government and present its programme within 10 days of it entering into office.

Portugal emerged in May 2014 from a three-year, 78-billion-euro ($88-billion) international bailout.