Leftist rule beckons?

in News · 16-10-2015 09:34:00 · 0 Comments
Leftist rule beckons?

The celebrations on election night by the centre-right coalition have this week grown into a
distant memory, as the Socialists (PS) moved closer towards brokering an agreement with the Left Bloc and the Communist Party to govern the country for the next four years.

Involved in a series of talks with parties to the left and the right the past week, the Socialists have hinted that a leftist government, so long as it guaranteed relative stability, was a viable option.
The current political situation was further shaken when the incumbent Pedro Passos Coelho said he was done “with playing games” and had no further intention of negotiating with the Socialists.
While the immediate political future is unclear, MPs will be taking their seats next Thursday for the first parliamentary session of the new legislative period.
President Cavaco Silva, who is charged with nominating a new government, still seems set to unveil the party with the most votes – the centre-right coalition – as the next government.
With nine seats short of a parliamentary majority, the PSD-CDS coalition will need support from the leftist opposition to govern, and as things stand, this appears extremely unlikely.
In such an event, the opposition, who do hold a majority, are expected to present a motion of no confidence in the government’s programme, inevitably bringing the government down and resulting in early elections, probably in the spring of 2016.
The president can still opt to empower a leftist government for the sake of political stability and to avoid a repeat ballot less than a year after elections.
A second PSD-CDS government is not expected to last the year, while a leftist coalition would enjoy a parliamentary majority and would be able to govern unchallenged.

This became apparent this week when Socialist leader António Costa said the “wall” had come down between his party and those to the left and that an unprecedented leftist coalition in Portugal’s 40-year old democracy was worth a shot.
The Communist Party have also said that “nothing stops the Socialists from forming a government”, while the Left Bloc has also come out in support of a potential leftist alliance with the primary demand that no more austerity is imposed on the nation, while making concessions with regards to more extreme policies such as Portugal’s exit from the single European currency or NATO.
Should the president rule in favour of a minority government, early elections seem the only probable outcome.
While parties to the left have seemingly agreed on ruling, they will be expected to campaign separately should elections take place next year.
This could present the left with a problem in that Socialist supporters will be aware that their party, moderate by leftist standards, is more than willing to form a coalition with the Left Bloc and the Communists. The latter two parties’ electorate will also have seen considerable concessions made in a bid to rule, and might be put off by a move to the centre.
Whether or not the centre-right coalition will be able to reap any political gains from these developments, remain to be seen.
While speculation will remain rife for much of the coming days over the country’s political future, it has now become apparent that a centre-right/centre-left agreement is virtually impossible.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said on Wednesday evening he would not work with the Socialists as he was not willing to be subjected to “political blackmail”, especially after his party won the most votes in the elections.
“I have met with the Socialists twice and I do not intend to pretend that we are looking for a positive result from talks when the opposite is true”.
The Socialist leader, António Costa, on the other hand, said the foundations had been laid to create an alternative leftist government in Portugal.
Socialist president Carlos César meanwhile refuted Passos Coelho’s comments, saying on Wednesday: “We are not afraid of going against the coalition. Passos Coelho no longer has a majority and he is obliged to enter into dialogue with the PS. He cannot treat us as if we were a junior party.”
César accused Passos Coelho of being “arrogant and belligerent” and that he should realise that without Socialist backing, he “will be unable to form a stable government.”
António Costa has in the meantime met with all the ambassadors of the EU in Lisbon to allay any fears of a leftist coalition government, while in comments to Reuters, he said Europe has “nothing to fear from such a government as the Socialists are not Syriza (Greek ruling party).”


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