Portuguese pro-cuts government’s downfall

This video is called Portugal stages mass strike in protest of government spending cuts.

By Paul Mitchell and Alex Lantier:

Portuguese Prime Minister resigns amid rising social protests

24 March 2011

Prime Minister José Sócrates resigned yesterday, after all five opposition parties rejected the budget presented by his minority Socialist Party (PS) government. The budget included huge spending cuts, tax increases and a freeze on pensions intended to prevent Portugal from seeking a bailout like those granted to Ireland and Greece last year.

Sócrates said he would remain in office in a caretaker capacity: “The country will not be without a government. The government will continue to fulfil all its duties as a caretaker government.”

President Aníbal Cavaco Silva could now call a snap election within two months. However, the Portuguese constitution mandates a waiting period of at least 55 days between the calling of snap polls and when the elections are in fact held. Silva issued a statement declaring that he would not call for polls at least until tomorrow.

Until now, the minority PS government functioned with the tacit support of “opposition” parties like the PSD, which refrained from exercising their option of blocking the PS’s policies in the legislature. The right-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD) had abstained in previous votes on the austerity measures, allowing the minority PS government to pass them.

This time the PSD decided to vote against, declaring that “a broad government coalition” is needed to force the necessary austerity measures through.

See also here.

Portugal edged closer to seeking a financial bailout this week, as the cost of government borrowing hit record highs: here.

In a new escalation of the euro crisis, Portugal became the third European country to ask the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for a loan: here.

Portuguese workers under attack from Euro banks, IMF: here.

After delivering an austerity budget Tuesday that was quickly rejected by all three opposition parties, Canada’s minority Conservative government faces imminent defeat in parliament, possibly as early as today: here.

UPDATE: Canada’s minority Conservative government officially lost parliament’s support Friday when MPs from all three opposition parties supported a Liberal motion declaring “non-confidence” in the government: here.

Rate-setting agency Moody’s continued the markets’ raid on the Iberian Peninsula today by downgrading the debt of 30 Spanish banks, claiming weaknesses in Spain’s financial system.

Tens of thousands of students and unemployed people rallied in more than 50 cities across Spain on Sunday to condemn the Socialist government’s austerity drive and press it prioritise jobs and economic growth over servicing its foreign debt.

7 thoughts on “Portuguese pro-cuts government’s downfall

  1. Lula warns of IMF loan nightmare

    PORTUGAL: Popular Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva warned Portugal’s government on Monday against taking an International Monetary Fund loan to solve its budget problems.

    He is on a three-day visit to the country with his successor, President Dilma Rousseff.

    Brazil accepted an IMF loan in 1998 that forced £17.5 billion worth of budget cuts, causing many to lose their jobs, the dismantling of welfare programmes and a privatisation spree.



  2. Socrates caves and asks EU for loan

    PORTUGAL: Portugal’s caretaker Prime Minister Jose Socrates caved in to pressure from top bankers on Wednesday night and requested a loan from the European Union.

    But Mr Socrates’s Socialist Party, the Social Democrats — whose leader is the front-runner for elections in June — and the Democratic and Social Centre party will need to sign off on the loan request before it is formalised.

    Portugal, the third eurozone state after Greece and Ireland to request an EU loan, is expected to ask for €90 billion (£79bn).



  3. Strikes mooted over sell-off

    GREECE: Electricity workers will consider rolling strikes in May against plans to sell off stakes in the state-run Public Power Corporation (PPC), the General Federation of PPC Personnel said today.

    The government plans to reduce its ownership share of the corporation from 51 to 34 per cent as part of a privatisation drive foisted on the country by the EU and IMF.

    The electricity workers’ union did not say when a decision on strike action would be made.

    Unions have already called a general strike for May 11 in opposition to austerity measures.



  4. Civil servants out against austerity

    PORTUGAL: Civil servants launched a 24-hour strike today in protest at the government’s planned austerity measures.

    The National Federation of Civil Service Unions said it expected disruption at schools, courts and public offices. Hospital services and rubbish collection were also affected.

    The country’s government is freezing public-sector pay, raising taxes and slashing welfare in return for a €78 billion (£69bn) bailout package agreed by the IMF and European Union.



  5. Pingback: Big Portuguese anti-IMF demonstration | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Berlusconi attacks Italian people | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Portuguese workers’ song at Eurovision song contest | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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