Early election looms after Socialists’ budget defeat.
October 27, 2021
Socialist Prime Minister António Costa’s six-year love-in with Portugal’s far left ended ugly Wednesday when the Communist Party and Left Bloc ganged up with the right to vote down his minority government’s budget and plunge the country into political crisis.
Without a working majority, Costa is expected to limp on as head of a caretaker government after parliament is formally dissolved next week, then lead his Socialist Party (PS) into an early election likely to be held in January.
But the political strategy of reaching out to the hard left, which kept him in power since 2015 and was touted as a model for the European left, is in tatters.
“The geringonça is dead, I hope it rests in peace,” quipped João Cotrim de Figueiredo, leader of the center-right Liberal Initiative party, using the word meaning “rickety contraption” that has long stuck to Costa’s cohabitation with the radical left.
After this week’s feuding, it’s hard to see how Costa could patch up his ménage à trois with Communist leader Jerónimo de Sousa and the Left Bloc’s Catarina Martins.
Preceding their parliamentary divorce, the former allies spent days exchanging accusations of blackmail, dishonesty, intransigence and abandoning Portugal’s poor and vulnerable.
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