Portugal could be heading for a snap election at the end of May or in early June.
That is certainly the hope of leading politicians who met President Anibal Cavaco Silva in Lisbon.
This, two days after Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigned over parliament’s rejection of his minority government’s austerity programme.
But for political analyst Antonio Costa Pinto, the broader impact of Portugal’s financial woes should be put in perspective.
“The role of Portugal in the crisis of the euro is reasonably small,” he said.
“It represents around three per cent of the European Union economy. But of course the major problem is that fragile economies, like the Portuguese one, will suffer because of national factors, and suffer a lot also, because of the European Union financial crisis.”
Portugal’s debt problems could force it to request an international bailout like Greece and Ireland, something the outgoing prime minister was desperate to avoid.