Conservative Coelho to form minority government in Portugal


Lisbon (dpa) – Conservative Pedro Passos Coelho was confirmed Thursday as Portugal’s new prime minister and will get to lead a minority government.

More than two weeks after the Portuguese election, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he had named the most-voted candidate as head of government. He criticized the failure of coalition talks between Coelho’s centre-right Portugal a Frente (Paf) and the Socialist Party (PS).

“I am deeply sorry that, at a time when we need to consolidate growth and job creation […] circumstantial interests are given priority over the national interest,” Cavaco Silva said late Thursday in an address to the country.

Coelho’s alliance, which implemented a series of austerity measures and reforms aimed at overcoming economic crisis, lost its absolute majority in parliament in the October 4 election.

Leftist parties obtained more than 50 per cent of the seats in parliament, but the socialists’ efforts to build a left-wing coalition failed. Instead, they have vowed to make life difficult for the right-wing government.

The country’s media have speculated that new parliamentary elections would be called in the coming year.

“This government has no chance of survival,” PS spokesman Joao Soares warned.