Home News Portugal risks becoming ‘ungovernable’, president warns as new govt sworn in

Portugal risks becoming ‘ungovernable’, president warns as new govt sworn in

Published on 30/10/2015

Political instability could make Portugal "ungovernable", its president warned on Friday as a new centre-right minority government was sworn in.

“Without political stability, Portugal will become an ungovernable country,” President Anibal Cavaco Silva said, urging all parties to “act in a responsible manner”.

“The government which is taking office today does not have the support of the majority in parliament. Efforts at dialogue and compromise with other political forces must continue,” the 76-year-old conservative president said.

Although the centre-right coalition headed by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho won the October 4 elections, it lost the absolute majority it had enjoyed since 2011, taking only 107 of the parliament’s 230 seats.

And with the leftwing parties now holding a majority in parliament, the new government’s chances of survival look slim.

The fate of the new government depends on the ability of Antonio Costa, who heads the Socialist Party (PS), to seal an alliance with the Left Bloc, which is allied with Greece’s ruling anti-austerity Syriza party, as well as with the Communist and Green parties.

The first major challenge facing Portugal’s new minority government is already looming.

Passos Coelho’s new administration will present its programme to parliament on November 9, but the PS and its other leftwing allies, which between them won 122 seats, have vowed to pass a motion against the blueprint in a vote which would take place a day later.

If they succeed, it would automatically bring down the government.

Cavaco Silva on Friday said he had tasked Passos Coelho with forming a government because his centre-right bloc had won the elections.

“Until the prime minister was appointed, no alternative for a stable, consistent and credible government had been proposed to me by other political groups,” he said.

Speaking after him, Passos Coelho said he was “open to compromise” while criticising those threatening to bring down his new administration.

“No-one should sacrifice the well-being of the Portuguese people in the name of ideology or for personal or partisan ambition,” he said.