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Portuguese president wants interim debt deal

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva called Saturday for interim measures to ease his country’s debt burden as it faces difficult general elections in June.

He was speaking the day after the European Union and International Monetary Fund offered Portugal an 80-billion-euro ($115 billion) bailout, but set tough conditions.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates asked for the bailout after parliament last month rejected austerity measures proposed by his minority government, prompting his resignation.

Cavaco Silva said that with new elections due on June 5 “what we need now is an interim programme so that the next government can take part in the final negotations, because it is the next government that will implement” the deal that emerges.

“It’s understandable (and) we need, let’s say, a little imagination on the part of European institutions to come up with a suitable interim programme,” he added.