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Portuguese president backs coalition government

Published on 21/07/2013

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva said Sunday he backed the country's centre-right coalition government, distancing himself from calls for snap elections to resolve a political crisis shaking the bailed-out nation.

“I think the best solution is to keep the current government in power,” said Cavaco Silva, dashing hopes among the leftwing opposition for early polls after crisis talks between Portugal’s three main parties failed on Friday.

Portuguese politics were thrown into turmoil early this month by the resignation of two key ministers amid ongoing feuding over austerity measures agreed as part of the country’s 78-billion-euro rescue from the European Union and International Monetary Fund in 2011.

Bickering between Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s centre-right PSD party, its coalition partner, the conservative CDS-PP, and the main opposition Socialists has raised fears the government’s bid to overhaul its finances will derail and force the country to seek a second bailout.