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Portugal: 'Memorandum is real programme' for new government

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Portugal: 'Memorandum is real programme' for new government

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The Portuguese took a new political direction on Sunday. To analyse the result of the election we are joined from Lisbon by the associate editor of the newspaper Diario de Noticias, Nuno Saraiva.

Maria Barradas, euronews:
“Portugal has clearly rejected the Socialist government of Jose Socrates. What message do you think this will send to European Union partner countries, and, especially, to those that have been reluctant to help the country out financially?”

Nuno Saraiva:
“The message this result sends is that we still have political conditions for very objective stability, so that Portugal can meet its commitments. There is also a domestic message in the Portuguese having massively rejected Prime Minister Jose Socrates. As everyone knows, the memorandum signed with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund was signed by the three big parties: the socialist party and the two who are now going to take up governing. Socrates’ departure is going to create the conditions for dialogue among the three of them which didn’t exist until now, and that is how we can politically sustain, within the country, all its engagements outside it.”

euronews:
“Can this political change convey more confidence outside the country, or, on the contrary, will having a coalition government weaken confidence still further, in the country’s capacity to rise to the economic challenges?”

Saraiva:
“The early signs are very positive. The markets have reacted very favourably to the election result, which ended up with a clear centre-right majority. Interest rates on the Portuguese sovereign debt have already been revised downward, and so the first reaction is good. In addition, European partners now have an objective political reality, and all the stability conditions to accomplish Portugal’s commitments during the four years of this legislature.”

euronews:
“The leaders of the two parties of the coalition made promises to the electorate. Will the government have political manoeuvring room or is it completely stuck by the compromise reached with Portugal’s international lenders?”

Saraiva:
“I think the government is bound hand and foot by the memorandum signed with the IMF, Brussels and the European Central Bank. Everything that was said during the campaign was nothing but campaign slogans. Once in power, Pedro Passos Coelho and also the leader of the CDS-PP know that they will be held to the agreements signed with the Socialist party. The memorandum is the real programme of the government.”

euronews:
“Pedro Passos Coelho has promised a stripped-down government, in keeping with the austerity imposed on the country. What kind of government can be expected?”

Saraiva:
“Pedro Passos Coelho has the opportunity to make a government with a reduced cabinet, notably by reducing the number of junior ministers. But it will be very difficult, in the framework of the negotiations between the two parties, to make a drastic reduction in the number of ministers.”