News / Europe

Portuguese Government Scrambles to Avert Political Crisis

People shout slogans during a protest by the Portuguese Communist party, demanding the breakup of the Portuguese parliament and early elections, in Lisbon, July 3, 2013.
People shout slogans during a protest by the Portuguese Communist party, demanding the breakup of the Portuguese parliament and early elections, in Lisbon, July 3, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
Portugal's leaders worked to save their coalition government Thursday after two cabinet members resigned. The political turmoil in Portugal has been rocking the markets, and analysts say it is a clear indicator the eurozone crisis is far from over.

A spokesperson for the Portuguese government said Thursday that talks between the prime minister and his coalition partners were taking place in a “very positive atmosphere.” No further details were given.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho was meeting with the leader of the rightist CDS-PP party to heal the rift that erupted after the country’s finance minister and foreign minister both resigned this week.

Their resignations follow widespread discontent over Portugal’s tough austerity measures.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo from the European and International Studies department at King’s College London says it is a change for the Portuguese government, which until now has appeared united in its austerity drive.

“This is a new move in Portuguese politics toward some people making it clear that they do not agree with the policies that they are being demanded to implement," he said. "So we see that the broader agreement that seemed to exist among the main political parties in Portugal does not really exist.”

At this point, he said, it is unclear what will happen, but if talks fail there could be new elections in the coming months.

The government is working to complete its $102 billion bailout next year. But its austerity drive, which is a requirement of the international loan, has forced the country even deeper into its worst economic slump since the 1970s.

Pardo said the government’s determination to pursue austerity might be crumbling.

And if Portugal begins a shift away from austerity, other European nations could follow.

“It is very likely that in other European countries, and we have seen this more openly in Greece for example, politicians might not be willing to carry on with these cuts,” said Pardo.

The markets reacted quickly to Portuguese political unrest. The Portuguese 10-year government bond yield spiked to eight percent on Wednesday - close to the levels reached two years ago, when Portugal was forced to seek a bailout.

Christian Schweiger, a Europe expert at Durham University, said the market reaction is worrying.

“This shows that the European crisis is definitely not over,” he said.

And he said Portugal is not on its own. Popular discontent over austerity is widespread across Europe, not least because of soaring unemployment levels among the youth. Schweiger said euro countries could see growing unrest.

“If you look at Cyprus for example, we have heard nothing of Cyprus in the last few weeks, but we do not know if a similar situation could not arise given that we had quite large protests against the austerity measures that Cyprus has to implement,” he said.

European Union and International Monetary Fund auditors are due to arrive in Portugal on July 15 to review the country’s progress on economic reforms. Those reforms are a prerequisite for Portugal getting the next tranche of its international loan.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid