Following crisis talks with Prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho and other political leaders, Portugal’s president has decided against early elections despite last week’s ministerial resignations.
Instead he is backing Coelho who has handed the job of vice premier to the leader of his junior coalition partner in a bid to end the rift which had threatened the country’s bailout programme.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva gave his reasons in a televised address:
“A scenario of elections in the current context would be extremely negative for the national interest. They would take place in a climate of great financial instability and the degree of uncertainty and lack of confidence of the economic agents and markets in our country would be very high.”
Nurses on Wednesday were the latest to protest against deep public sector cuts and an increasingly unpopular government.
Differences over the scale of austerity measures following a 78-billion-euro bailout had triggered the resignations of Portugal’s foreign and finance ministers.