Cavaco calls meeting with PS as fears grow among centre-right over left-wing bid for government

As the country’s political shambles becomes more and more apparent, President Cavaco Silva has called a meeting with Socialist leader António Costa, to take place on Monday at 4pm.
Costa meantime has been testing the water with other left-wing parties, emerging from a meeting with the “Verdes” (Green Party) yesterday, saying talks had been “very productive”.

As the nation’s papers are intimating, “some elements of the PSD/CDS coalition are very apprehensive over the leader of the PS and indications that there could be an attempt to create a government of the Left”.

Prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho has already gone on record saying pointedly: “We sincerely hope that the principle of who won the elections can govern. The contrary would be a perversion”.

But it is truly not as simple as that.

As leader writer Francisco José Viegas explains in his opinion column today: “The idea that the electoral bloc most voted for should govern is essential in a democracy”.
The PS was critical of Cavaco’s post-election appeal for “dialogue between the various political forces”, as Costa explained, he was only referring to dialogue between the coalition and the PS when, in any democracy, all the parties voted in should have been involved.

As the country waits, national tabloid Correio da Manhã runs with a headline this morning saying Passos Coelho is prepared to give Costa the “proposal” he is waiting for.

He has agreed to “accelerate the reposition of public sector salaries” – cut in the name of austerity when the coalition came to power in 2011 – and he is ready to abolish the IRS surcharge of 3.5%.

Says CM, “the PSD leader has not said how long this devolution could take”, but CM understands it could happen within “just three years”.

Naturally, the concession would depend on both the PSD/CDS coalition returning to government, and the “favourable evolution of the economy and tax receipts”.

For now, a new meeting between Costa and Passos Coelho has been fixed for Tuesday.

By this time, Costa will have talked with all the other parties elected last Sunday, and he will have had his audience with Cavaco Silva in Belém Palace.

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