Wednesday 12/8/21
BUDGET CRISIS

Portugal's president calls for new elections on 30 January

Portugal's next regular election had not been due until the autumn of 2023

04 November 2021, Portugal, Lisbon: Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa speaks on the last day of the Web Summit. Photo: Pedro Fiuza/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa speaks on the last day of the Web Summit. Photo: Pedro Fiuza/dpa.

Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has called for a elections to be held on January 30, he said on Thursday, a move that was widely expected after parliament failed to pass a budget.

Rebelo said parliament should soon be dissolved, in his televised address to the nation.

Portugal's next regular election had not been due until the autumn of 2023.

The 2022 budget proposed by Prime Minister Antonio Costa failed to pass on Wednesday, garnering the support of just 108 lawmakers from his Socialist Party (PS); 117 lawmakers voted against it and five abstained.

The PS, which has held power since 2015, had previously enjoyed the backing of several leftist parties. But the Marxist Left Bloc (BE), the Communists (PCP) and the Greens (PEV) withdrew their support, demanding the government spend more on social issues from the billions the country is to receive from the European Union in post-pandemic reconstruction funds.

Costa, however, was unwilling to embrace a more expansive spending policy.

Consultations

Before making the decision, Rebelo held a series of consultations, starting with talks with representatives from trade unions and employers' organizations on Friday and with the heads of all parties represented in parliament on Saturday.

On Wednesday, he met the country's Council of State, a body that advises the president and is made up of current and former lawmakers and representatives from across the political spectrum.

Comments