Portugal’s Victorious Center-Right to Push Austerity

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva has asked Social Democratic Party leader Pedro Passos Coelho to “immediately” start work on forming a new government.

The Social Democrats on Sunday won a comfortable victory in the troubled country's parliamentary elections, ousting the ruling Socialists.

Mr. Passos Coelho said Monday Mr. Silva had asked for the preparations to be finished by the time the final results of the election are published on June 15. After that, the president can formally appoint Mr. Passos Coelho as prime minister.

The Social Democratic Party leader said he will form a coalition government with the conservative Popular Party, giving their bloc a majority in parliament and making it easier to pass legislation aimed at pulling the country away from the edge of bankruptcy.

He has pledged to move forward with tough austerity measures necessary to restore the country's economic credibility.

The center-right leader and former businessman has said he is committed to meeting the terms of the $114-billion bailout set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Passos Coelho has vowed to “go beyond” the bailout demands, and has said he will push to privatize some Portuguese state industries and cut back on large-scale infrastructure projects.

Portugal is one of three Eurozone countries being bailed out. The other two are Greece and Ireland.