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Portugal's dilemma as elections approach

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Portugal's dilemma as elections approach

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To get further insight into the consequences of Portugal’s election, euronews reporter, Michel Santos spoke to journalist and commentator José Manuel Fernandez.

euronews:

“Polls show the possibility of a coalition between the centre-right liberal conservative PSD, and the rival centre-right CDS-PP party. Because of the austerity measures and without an absolute majority, will the government be able to survive for the whole legislative period?”

José Manuel Fernandez:

“I think the executive that emerges from these elections will always be a majority. The president of the Republic has said he will endorse a majority government and the polls indicate that there will be conditions to form such a government. Not with one party, but two parties, on the centre-right, the CDS-PP and the PSD.”

euronews:

“Portugal is experiencing a deep crisis. Isn’t it possible to make a grand coalition, a center block, to solve the country’s problem?”

José Manuel Fernandez:

“I think the possibility of forming an alliance that also includes the current governing party, the socialist PS party, is very much dependent on whether José Socrates remains leader of party. Socrates is someone who during the campaign, and also in recent months and years, has created a number of incompatibilities. All leading politicians have said that they will not enter into a coalition with Socrates. They haven’t said they won’t reach an agreement with the PS party itself.”

euronews:

“Germany is seen as the engine of Europe. What’s the EU’s perception of Portugal at the moment?”

José Manuel Fernandez:

“Portugal saw the EU as a kind of El Dorado. The Portuguese now feel a little betrayed by the EU because of the conditions of the troika (EU, IMF, ECB) agreement. At the same time, they know they depend on the EU, because the money needed is coming from the EU and the IMF. I think the fact that Portugal has performed poorly with the euro is not because of the euro. People blame it on errors committed by the Portuguese. The Portuguese weren’t able to reach the level required of a currency area like the euro, a currency area with the strength of Germany, for example.”

euronews:

“Will the financial deal arranged with the troika be enough, or will the next government face a situation similar to that of Greece?”

José Manuel Fernandez:

“I think that this risk does exist. But I don’t think this is something that politicians can discuss today. I believe that the reasonable point of view for the country in the long term, is if we succeed in demonstrating that we can keep our commitments, we can possibly ask for some leeway. Eventually, the terms of this renegotiation of debt repayment periods could be to let part of the debt expire. It’s actually an extraordinarily heavy debt. It’s like the country is carrying a big bag of stones, which is making it very difficult to move forward.”

euronews:

“If lots of people abstain from voting, what kind of message will that send?”

José Manuel Fernandez:

“I think there will be a clear message if there’s a high level of abstention. There are many people who are very unhappy with the proposals from all the political parties.”