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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid