Portugal may be without government

President Anibal Cavaco Silva

THE result of the latest elections in Portugal have led to an unusual situation whereby the President, Anibal Cavaco Silva has declared that the current, centre-right government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho should continue in power as it was the largest individual party, even though its opponents actually hold more seats.

Mr Silva’s coalition has just 107 seats whilst the socialists and greens combined hold 122 seats, a clear majority. According to the president, himself a conservative, it would be wrong to give power to a coalition which was against membership of the euro currency

“Without political stability, Portugal will become an uncontrollable country. And, of course, no one trusts an ungovernable country,” the president said, adding: “The government taking over today does not have majority in parliament so the effort of dialogue and compromise has to proceed with the other political forces to seek the necessary understanding.”

The opposition has made it clear that on November 10, when the prime minister is due to put his forward policy to parliament that they will vote against it and therefore there is every likelihood that his government will fall. There will then have to be a six month ‘caretaker’ government before a new election can take place.

In the event that the government is forced to resign after just 11 days in power, it will become the shortest lived administration in Portugal since the 1974 revolution.

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