Portugal asks EU Commission for aid: PM

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The Portuguese government has decided to request financial assistance from the European Commission, outgoing Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced late Wednesday during a televised address.

The request for aid was also confirmed by Brussels.

After having resisted for months pressure from the markets as well as European partners, Socrates justified the request as need after parliament rejected his new austerity programme which, he said, "aggravated in a dramatic way the country's financial situation."

"I am firmly convinced that that is going to be further aggravated if nothing is done," added Socrates, who resigned on March 23 after parliament's rejection, opening the way for new elections set for June 5.

© 2011 AFP

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