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Portugal’s left-wing opposition topples government

Portugal’s left-wing opposition alliance toppled the country’s centre-right minority government Tuesday in a parliamentary vote, less than two weeks after it was sworn in.

The newly-formed bloc comprising the Socialist Party, Communists and their allies voted for a motion rejecting the government’s programme, in a move likely to spook investors and markets as the country recovers from an economic crisis.

The move brings an automatic end to the government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, whose centre-right coalition won the most votes in last month’s elections but lost the absolute majority it had enjoyed since 2011.

Passos Coelho, who steered Portugal through a punishing three-year international bailout, had warned ahead of the vote that the rival bloc’s policies would “ruin Portugal”.

His second government is the shortest since Portugal returned to democracy in 1974.