The shock exit of Portugal’s Foreign Minister, Paulo Portas has plunged the government into crisis. Prime Minister Passos Coelho is fighting to keep the coalition together, and has refused to accept the resignation of his number two.
It comes just 24 hours after Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar quit, and a replacement was appointed, leading to Portas resigning. Both ministers were angry over the government’s adherence to biting austerity policies introduced as part of an 78 billion euro bailout. The finance minister cited a lack of public support for cuts in his resignation letter.
Without the support of Portas’ CDS-PP party, the centre-right government could lose its majority.
“In the next few hours I shall seek to clarify with our coalition partners all the conditions necessary in order to keep stability in the government and the country,” explained the embattled prime minister. He continued by declaring, “I will not resign. I will not abandon my country.”
Portugal is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the 1970s, but the government’s outlook now appears equally as bleak.