The Portuguese Parliament Rejects The Budgets And Leads The Country To Early Elections

The Portuguese Parliament rejects the budgets and leads the country to early elections

The Portuguese Parliament rejected this Wednesday the general budgets presented by the Socialist Party of Prime Minister António Costa, who governs in a minority with the support of the Left Bloc and the Communist Party coalition. The budgets have only received 108 votes from the socialists and five abstentions from the animal party PAN, leaving only three abstentions or votes in favor.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had already warned that if Parliament rejected the budget, it would call early elections. For his part, Prime Minister Costa said on Tuesday that he would not resign even if he was defeated. It would be the first time in the democratic history of Portugal that budgets caused the calling of early elections.

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The Socialist Party has ruled in a minority since October 2019 with 108 of the 230 seats, although it received the support of the Left Bloc (BE), which has 19 deputies, and the 12 representatives of the Communist Party (PCP) coalition.

To carry out the budgets, the prime minister needed 108 votes in favor of the Socialist Party and another eight supports or abstentions. The animal party PAN, with three representatives, and two non-attached deputies announced in recent days that they would abstain, but at the beginning of the debate, Costa still lacked another three votes that he has not obtained.

“Portugal does not need any budget, it needs a response from the government to the problems that are accumulating,” said the leader of the Communist Party, João Oliveira, announcing his rejection of the socialist proposal. Oliveira has denounced in the voting debate that the Government has not responded to his proposals. For her part, Catarina Martins, leader of the Left Bloc, recalled on Monday that the nine points raised by her party to the Government were rejected. The Green Party has also accused the government of a lack of will by having accepted only one of its proposals in the budgets.

“It is incomprehensible that the left is taking the side of those who have always been against the social advances of the last six years,” has denounced the leader of the Socialist Party in the Chamber, Ana Catarina Mendes. “They are also voting with their own proposals that are included here. They are the best budgets in recent years,” he concluded.

At the end of the debate, Prime Minister Costa has affirmed to be with a “clear conscience”. “I have done everything possible to ensure the viability of this budget,” he said.

The prime minister has said he is “frustrated” but also “proud of the journey we have been able to take from 2016 to now”.

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