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Portugal under new government

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Portugal under new government

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The new government of debt-battered Portugal has signed into office. The inaugural speech of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, whose Social Democrats came out ahead in this month’s election, focused on the challenges of introducing austerity measures and economic reforms in compliance with a 78-billion-euro bailout plan.

He said: “Our priorities are: to stabilise finances, help the needy and make the economy and employment grow. Returning the public finances to sustainability is an urgent imperative in dealing with our short-term problems.”

The centre-right Social Democrats will govern in a majority coalition with the smaller, rightist CDS party.

The bailout terms include higher taxes, deep spending cuts and reform of Portugal’s labour and legal systems.