Portugal’s proposed high-speed TGV rail link with the rest of Europe has emerged as the crucial issue which could decide which party wins the general election later this month.The ruling Socialists have pledged to see the project through but, in a televised debate between the country’s prime minister and the leader of the opposition Social Democrats – it became clear infrastructure will not be a priority if the government changes. Manuela Ferreira Leite, the Social Democrat Party candidate said: “If I’m elected prime minister as I expect and desire, I can assure that I’m going to suspend the TGV project.” José Socrates, Portuguese prime-minister responded by asking: “Why did you defend the high speed train while you were in government? Now you’re against it?” The Socialists believe a TGV rail-link and a new airport for Lisbon are key to lifting Portugal out of recession. José Blaco, Spain’s Minister for Infrastructure said: “That would be a reverse, if the rail link was not dealt with, because the train corridors are very important to integrate the Iberian peninsula with the rest of Europe.” The TGV issue has become such a political hot potato that a final decision on the multi-billion euro tender for the first stretch of the link has been postponed until after the election.
TGV link could prove to be election decider