Portugal’s socialist coalition government survived from no confidence vote

Portugal appears to have avoided a fresh round of political turmoil on Wednesday when the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonio Costa withstood a no confidence vote. Opposition parties fielded a motion against the socialist coalition government of Antonio Costa last week but was rejected on Wednesday in the Portuguese Parliament consisted of 230 parliamentary members. The outcome of the no confidence vote ended with a 12 man majority in favour of the coalition government and a total margin of 115-103.

Portugal is already en route to parliamentary elections scheduled to be held during October 2019.  The socialist coalition government, consisted of Far Left, Ecologists, Communist and Socialist representatives did not manage to avert public sector demonstrations which culminated into violent street skirmishes between rioters and police forces throughout last year. Main opposition leader Assuncao Cristas of CDS-PP party mentioned that the no vote motion came as a result of the strikes which have already proven the defeat of the socialist coalition government’s agenda in Portuguese political life.

The socialist party still leads the election race in opinion polls, given that its major contender, the CDS-PP conservatives, were the ones behind the most severe austerity reforms undertaken throughout the former E.U.-inspired bailout programme. The programme that lasted from 2011 until the 2015 parliamentary elections, paved the way for the rise of the socialist coalition to Portugal’s leadership position. Nonetheless, the socialist party will need more than a simple majority to establish a fresh coalition and win the governance of Portugal for a second four-year tenure.

Last Wednesday was a rough day for Portugal as one of the largest nursing unions initiated a hunger strike to ameliorate payment and working conditions. The prosecutor general questioned the legality of this action even though Finance Minister Mario Centeno appeared to endorse the strike. The Finance Minister acknowledged that such motions normally take place in economies which make their first steps out of depression and seek to correct longstanding social injustices. Part of the sustained popularity of the socialist coalition government in Portugal is attributed to efforts to reverse the negative impact of austerity measures being in place almost for a decade. Unemployment rates for example have reached a 16-year low in Portugal in the first months of 2019.

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