As Portugal’s political shambles lurches into the realms of recrimination, President of the Republic Cavaco Silva has drawn a line in the sand.
Announcing on his official page that he will start receiving parties “with a view to forming the next government”, he has effectively given the political posturing until Tuesday next week.
After that, it’s going to be his decision as to who heads the next government – and few believe his choice will be any other than the man who international media is currently referring to as “Portugal’s caretaker prime minister”, PSD leader Pedro Passos Coelho.
Adamant too that he is the man who will be chosen, Passos Coelho said yesterday that he has had enough of the “political blackmail” orchestrated by PS leader António Costa, who has been giving interviews to multiple world news channels in various languages affirming he is the best man for the job.
Calling a halt to the coalition’s “completely inconclusive” round of talks with the PS, Passos Coelho said “what is to be expected is that the president will call the coalition to form the government. That is obviously what I expect”.
In his announcement on the site of the Republican Presidency, Cavaco Silva alluded to the “various interpretations” of the October 4 election results, saying “as usually happens in times of important political decision-making, the press has been seeking to anticipate the decisions of the President of the Republic”.
Cavaco trusts however, that “the political forces will put Portugal’s superior interests first” and he “insists”, writes Económico website, that it is fundamental “after the choices made by the Portuguese … that gave the victory to the PSD/CDS-PP coalition”, a stable lasting government should be formed.
The President’s decision will be communicated to the Portuguese people after his meetings with the various political parties, on Tuesday (October 21) and Wednesday (October 22).
Meantime, a new presidential candidate has thrown her hat in the ring. Former Socialist minister for health Maria de Belém says: “Portugal needs an independent president who knows how to interpret the will of the people and how to give a voice to the most fragile in society”.