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Portugal's Socialists threaten to bring down the government

Portugal faces uncertainty as parliament begins debating the centre-right government’s new programme after last month’s inconclusive general

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Portugal's Socialists threaten to bring down the government

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Portugal faces uncertainty as parliament begins debating the centre-right government’s new programme after last month’s inconclusive general election.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s austerity-minded government was sworn in last week after his coalition won the most votes in an election on Oct.4, but lost its majority in parliament, which swung to the left.

Between the poll and the start of today’s two-day debate the Socialists and two other left-wing parties have reached a deal to vote against the programme and cause the government to fall.

Analyst Antonio Costa Pinto views it as a risky strategy:

“The Portuguese electorate wouldn’t forgive (if we were to fall into) another crisis and austerity so soon. Certainly, the electorate would punish the Socialist Party if that were to happen.”

It is unclear if the left-of-centre alliance brings down the government during Tuesday’s vote whether Portugal’s president will ask Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa to step in or if he’ll install a caretaker administration until fresh elections can be called.