Costa’s 2020 budget to pass with Left Bloc abstaining
Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s 2020 budget is set to pass in an initial vote in parliament on Friday after the Left Bloc joined other parties in announcing it will abstain.
The announced abstention of the Left Bloc, the Communists, Greens and the People-Animals-Nature party are enough to let the minority government’s budget pass after the ruling Socialist Party increased its number of seats in parliament to 108 in the 230-seat chamber following the Oct. 6 election. Approval requires a simple majority.
The 2020 plan is Costa’s first budget after winning a second term and the PM wants to post the country’s first budget surplus in four decades of democracy, helped by higher tax revenue. In his first term, Costa got consistent support for his budgets from the Left Bloc, Communists and Greens, leading only the second minority government in Portugal to survive a full term since a four-decade dictatorship gave way to democracy in 1974.
The Left Bloc held talks with the government to agree on measures including an increase in planned investment on health services in 2020, party leader Catarina Martins said at a press conference on Thursday.
A final vote on the budget is scheduled for Feb. 6.