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EUROZONE CROSSES RUBICON

AS PORTUGAL'S ANTI-EURO

LEFT BANNED FROM POWER

Published: October 25, 2015 - From  The  Telegraph  

Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest.

Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika.

He deemed it too risky to let the Left Bloc or the Communists come close to power, insisting that conservatives should soldier on as a minority in order to satisfy Brussels and appease foreign financial markets.

 
This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy.
President Cavaco Silva

Democracy must take second place to the higher imperative of euro rules and membership.

“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO,” said Mr Cavaco Silva.

 

“This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy.

"After we carried out an onerous programme of financial assistance, entailing heavy sacrifices, it is my duty, within my constitutional powers, to do everything possible to prevent false signals being sent to financial institutions, investors and markets,” he said.

Mr Cavaco Silva argued that the great majority of the Portuguese people did not vote for parties that want a return to the escudo or that advocate a traumatic showdown with Brussels.

This is true, but he skipped over the other core message from the elections held three weeks ago: that they also voted for an end to wage cuts and Troika austerity. The combined parties of the Left won 50.7pc of the vote. Led by the Socialists, they control the Assembleia.

• Stalemate threatens to derail eurozone's model pupil

The conservative premier, Pedro Passos Coelho, came first and therefore gets first shot at forming a government, but his Right-wing coalition as a whole secured just 38.5pc of the vote. It lost 28 seats.

The Socialist leader, Antonio Costa, has reacted with fury, damning the president’s action as a “grave mistake” that threatens to engulf the country in a political firestorm.

“It is unacceptable to usurp the exclusive powers of parliament. The Socialists will not take lessons from professor Cavaco Silva on the defence of our democracy,” he said.

Mr Costa vowed to press ahead with his plans to form a triple-Left coalition, and warned that the Right-wing rump government will face an immediate vote of no confidence.

There can be no fresh elections until the second half of next year under Portugal’s constitution, risking almost a year of paralysis that puts the country on a collision course with Brussels and ultimately threatens to reignite the country’s debt crisis.

The bond market has reacted calmly to events in Lisbon but it is no longer a sensitive gauge now that the European Central Bank is mopping up Portuguese debt under quantitative easing.

Portugal is no longer under a Troika regime and does not face an immediate funding crunch, holding cash reserves above €8bn. Yet the IMF says the country remains “highly vulnerable” if there is any shock or the country fails to deliver on reforms, currently deemed to have “stalled”.

Public debt is 127pc of GDP and total debt is 370pc, worse than in Greece. Net external liabilities are more than 220pc of GDP.

 

Comments

+2 #1 The Timekeeper 2015-10-25 07:16
Farage was right then.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bypLwI5AQvY

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