Portugal coalition partners to field joint list in upcoming polls
Leaders of the two parties in Portugal's centre-right coalition government on Saturday announced they would field a single list of candidates to contest this year's parliamentary elections.
“This alliance is strong because it can already show the Portuguese how much work has been done,” Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, head of the Social Democrats (PSD), said at a press conference in Lisbon.
Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas, whose conservative CDS-PP party has been the coalition’s minority partner since the last polls in 2011, added: “We are different parties, but we share a culture of compromise and we are able to get along.”
The legislative elections are set to be held in September or October.
Without taking the new alliance into account, the most recent opinion poll put the opposition Socialists in first place with 38.1 percent of the votes, compared to 25.2 percent for the PSD and 8.1 percent for the CDS.
The PSD won the June 2011 election with 108 out of 230 seats and formed a parliamentary majority with the CDS, which had 24 lawmakers.
The coalition was forced to impose deeply unpopular austerity measures to comply with reforms demanded by international creditors in return for a bailout to stave off bankruptcy.
But the economy clawed its way back and last May Portugal exited its three-year, 78-billion-euro ($88-billion) bailout programme from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, although the government still has to cut spending to meet budget targets.