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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid