Portugal is on the brink of a constitutional crisis: The president has tasked the conservatives with forming a government. A left-wing coalition which has the majority in the parliament is not allowed to form a government because it is against the Euro, austerity and NATO.
This article originally appeared at DWN. Exclusively translated for South Front by Frank
Portugal’s left-wing opposition wants to bring down the majority government of prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho and wants to take over power for itself. The social party (PS) has decided on Friday night to hand in an application for challenge against Passos shortly after the beginning of his legislature in the coming days.
The 51-year old Passos was assumed into office by president of state Anibal Cavaco Silva on Thursday even though his middle-right coalition lost absolute majority during elections on 4th of October. However, his party remained the strongest force. Talks for the establishment of a great coalition between the left alliance Portugal à Frente (PàF/ forward Portugal) of Passos and the socialists failed in the past days. President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in Thursday during a televised speech that no other party had presented a credible alternative. Silva said that during the past 40 years there was no government in Portugal that was against the Euro, the fiscal pact and most importantly for the dissolution of NATO. Therefore he cannot give the left coalition a mandate for creating a government.
According to the constitution Passos would have to resign in the event of refusal of his governmental program through a simple majority vote of the parliamentarians. This is a likely scenario since the left-wing parties – the PS, der Marxist left block BW and the communists lead by Alliance CDU – would hold the majority of the seats in the parliament of Lisbon after the election. They agree on the rejection of the strict austerity program though PS is definitely behaving more moderately than the other left groups.
António Costa, head of the party, was tasked with the continuation of talks for the creation of a left government during a meeting of the political commission of PS. It would be the first left coalition in Portugal since the “revolution of carnations” in 1974.
Meanwhile Costa blamed president Cavaco for creating a “unnecessary crisis” by giving Passos a mandate. Giving him a mandate even though he has no majority in parliament is “inexplicable” and “grave”. It would simply delay the assumption of power by a new government which might finally be able to create stability in the coming years.
Cavaco – of the social democratic party (PSD) of Passos – declared in an adress to the nation on Thursday evening that he chose the “victor of elections”. He strongly criticized the failure of talks for the creation of a great coalition: “I greatly regret that economic interests are being chosen over the highest national interest in a time when growth and new jobs have to be consolidated”, said the 76-year old.
The alliance of Passos lead Portugal out of the financial crisis under strict austerity and reformation rule during the past few years. Portugal, the poorest country in western Europe was saved from bankruptcy by the IMF with $78 billion. After three years under the EU safety net the country gained financial independenc