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pedro passos coelho


Portugal’s centre-right governing coalition has won the country’s parliamentary elections, exit polls and early results suggest.

The coalition, led by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, is ahead with about 40% of the vote, followed by the Socialists on just under 32%, the partial results suggest.

Portugal’s elections were seen as a referendum on four years of spending cuts.

Photo AP

Photo AP

The governing coalition had vowed to continue the policies, in place since 2011 after it was forced to seek a eurozone bailout.

The opposition Socialists, led by Antonio Costa, and other left-wing groups had criticized the cuts.

Unemployment has been falling for two-and-a-half years, but many regard the recovery as fragile.

The centre-right Social Democratic Party and its right-wing ally, the People’s Party, put up joint lists.

Portugal is voting in a parliamentary election that is widely seen as a referendum on four years of spending cuts and market reforms.

The centre-right governing coalition has vowed to continue austerity policies in place since 2011, after it was forced to seek a eurozone bailout.

The Socialists and other left-wing groups have criticized the cuts.

Photo AP

Photo AP

President Anibal Cavaco Silva called for a high turnout on October 4, saying Portugal was facing a crucial moment.

Years of austerity have left Portugal’s electorate deeply split, and with an unusually large number of undecided voters.

Socialist leader Antonio Costa has said that only a vote for his party is a “useful vote” against the government.

The centre-right Social Democratic Party led by PM Pedro Passos Coelho and its right-wing ally, the People’s Party have put up joint lists of candidates in all electoral districts.

Portugal’s unemployment has been falling for two and a half years, but many regard the recovery as fragile.

Portugal plans to cut 30,000 civil service jobs and to raise the retirement age by one year to 66 as it tries to meet the terms of a bailout.

PM Pedro Passos Coelho said civil servants would also be required to work 40 hours a week instead of 35.

The proposals, which would be applied mostly from next year, would save 4.8 billion euros over three years, the prime minister said.

Austerity measures have proved deeply unpopular and have triggered large protests.

“With these measures, our European partners cannot doubt our commitment” to the bailout, Pedro Passos Coelho said in an address to the nation late on Friday.

Portugal’s PM Pedro Passos Coelho announced new austerity measures from next year that would save 4.8 billion euros over three years

Portugal’s PM Pedro Passos Coelho announced new austerity measures from next year that would save 4.8 billion euros over three years

“To hesitate now would harm the credibility that we have already won back,” he added.

Portugal received a 78 billion euro bailout from the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF in 2011.

Unemployment stands at nearly 18% – a record high – and the economy is expected to shrink for a third consecutive year in 2013.

Last month, the Portuguese Constitutional Court struck down more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of proposed cuts, which included the suspension of holiday bonuses for public sector workers and pensioners.


That forced the centre-right government to look elsewhere for savings – though it has ruled out raising taxes.

“We will not raise taxes to correct the budgetary problem resulting from the Constitutional Court’s decision,” Pedro Passos Coelho said.

“The way must be through the structural reduction of public spending.”

Portugal’s main Socialist opposition party has accused Pedro Passos Coelho of inflicting excessive austerity on Portugal in pursuit of an ideologically driven programme.

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