A renewed political hope for Portugal?

Read few comments by Sandrina Antunes, Assistant Professor, Universidade do Minho.

“Portugal and the political agreement of national salvation: the unexpected political twist for a renewed political hope?”

Economic and financial fragility are two major key words which could be used to define the current situation In Portugal but political instability imploded the whole situation when the Portuguese Minister of Finance, Vitor Gastar,resigned on the 1st of July and the non-consensual name of Maria Luís de Albuquerque was nominated to replace him. If it is true that the political compromise sealed between the two political parties in coalition – the PSD and the CDS-PP – has always been very tenuous due to opposite policy sensitivities regarding the intervention of the Troika, it is also true that the resignation of Vitor Gaspar opened a new window of opportunity for the CDS-PP to ask for a governmental reformation. This reformation would raise Paulo Portas – the actual party leader of the CDS-PP – to vice-prime minister as well as it would include a new name for finance. In addition, in face of this new political deadlock, the major Portuguese opposition political party, the PS, inflated the situation by asking for early elections. However, the President of Portugal, Cavaco Silva, thought very differently and asked for the three major political parties – which included the two parties in government and the PS – to reach a political agreement of national salvation”. The main purpose was to take Portugal out of political instability without resorting to early elections. The negotiations started on the 15th of July but the PS decided to redraw from the table of negotiations on the 19th of July due to incompatible divergences regarding policy areas where the government had to intervene in order to keep up with the economic targets of the Troika. Therefore, on the 21st of July, Cavaco Silva decided to reinforce his confidence on the previous government and announced that there would be no early elections before 2015. By the end of the day, it seems that this unexpected political solution has brought more stability to Portuguese economic stakeholders, even if all major economic and financial policy solutions remain to be clarified. In other words, this “political twist” has definitely helped the government to temper the “harassment” of all opposition political parties, namely from the PS as much as it has allowed the President to remind the two parties in government that it is their patriotic duty to do their best for their country, irrespectively of ideological discrepancies. For the time being, economic investment and credibility are the new key words to be retained but nothing has been decided (or revealed) yet.

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