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Portuguese split over bailout request: poll

Published on 07/04/2011

Portuguese citizens are evenly split over whether the government should seek outside financial assistance to resolve its escalating debt problems. a poll published Thursday showed.

A total of 39 percent of those questioned said intervention by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund was “the best solution for the country,” according to the poll published in several newspapers.

The same percentage believed it was “preferable” that the country did not resort to a bailout.

The other 22 percent did not want to reply.

The poll was carried out by the Catholic University among 1,288 people on April 2-3, at a time when Prime Minister Jose Socrates was still ruling out any such request.

Socrates late on Wednesday announced the government had finally decided to seek financial assistance from the European Union, paving the way for a third bailout of a eurozone country after Ireland and Greece.

The poll said 43 percent of respondents thought the ruling Socialists would be mainly responsible for any outside financial intervention.

Just 15 percent blamed the conservative opposition Social Democratic Party, which last month refused to back new austerity measures, leading to the collapse of the government and new elections scheduled for June 5.

The survey said 52 percent of people believed their lives would be “worse” or “clearly worse” in a year, compared with 14.3 percent who had the opposite view.

A total of 46 percent thought that their lives would “better” of “clearly better” in five years.