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Portugal’s Socalists reject plan for right-led minority govt

Published on 23/10/2015

Portugal's Socialist Party on Friday rejected plans for a new centre-right minority government which outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has been asked to form and insisted they could potentially form their own governing coalition.

The party “will not endorse the formation of a government” by the centre-right and “will ask its parliamentary group to reject any government proposals which essentially maintain the policies of the previous legislature,” it said in a statement.

The Socialists insisted they would “be able to propose a coherent alternative government, stable and durable”, which “guarantees integral respect for Portugal’s international commitments, notably its European ones”.

“The political commission (of the party) mandates the secretary-general to continue negotiations and reach an agreement” with Portugal’s Left Bloc, Communists and Greens, the Socialists said in a statement.

Portugal’s president had on Thursday tasked Coelho with forming a coalition following October 4’s parliamentary elections, but experts warned that the administration could be short-lived if the divided left could overcome its historic differences.

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.

The Socialists, whose leader Antonio Costa had also staked a claim to become prime minister by saying he could form a government with support from anti-liberal leftist parties, had trailed in second place.

“It is incomprehensible to name a prime minister who the president knows in advance will not be able to hold majority support in parliament,” Costa said.