Portuguese budget may face legal challenge

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Portuguese budget may face legal challenge

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With nightfall in Portugal, demonstrators took to the streets. Their destination was the parliament building in Lisbon, where politicians had just voted in the biggest tax increases in the country’s modern history.

Thousands gathered in front of the building. Some households face increases equal to two months salary.

The hard-pressed government has to meet budget goals set under the 78 billion euro bailout deal with the EU and IMF. The two parties of the centre-right governing coalition voted for the bill at its first reading. All other parties voted against.

Unions have called for a general strike on the 14th of November. “I’m here because I am against the government measures,” one woman outside told reporters. “They have been humiliating us for more than a year now. Drastic austerity measures are not the way to solve this crisis.”

This time, however, help may be at hand. The budget is expected to face a challenge in the constitutional court on the grounds that the tax increases weigh too heavily on the poor.