Budgetary talks open divisions between Portugal’s left

As the nation has been focused on Christmas, New Year and the general hysteria that goes with it, budgetary talks ongoing in parliament have opened divisions within the government’s shaky left-wing alliance. According to Sol news website, stances by PCP communists and BE (Left Bloc) are pushing the government of António Costa “into Passos Coelho’s hands”, as the latter could decide “the moment in which Costa falls”.

It is a drama that promises even more by way of excitement as the Resident goes to press on Wednesday. This is when the vote on Portugal’s amended budget (to take the Banif losses into account) is due to go ahead.
If the budget goes through with the help of PSD votes, Passos Coelho has sounded a warning: “Don’t think we’re going to support the government, because we aren’t.”

It’s a message that mirrors that given by outgoing CDS-PP leader Paulo Portas, whose party has sought to separate itself from its PSD alliance in the wake of the Banif fiasco – and it comes weeks before the really crucial test for the Socialists: the vote on Portugal’s next State Budget expected in the first quarter of 2016.

Photo: PM António Costa can expect fierce opposition over the approval of next year’s State Budget