Cavaco names Passos Coelho as Portugal’s new prime minister

After keeping the country on tenterhooks for over 24-hours, President Cavaco Silva has finally broken his silence on the form of Portugal’s next government. Following constitutional rules, he named the next prime minister as Pedro Passos Coelho.

The future of a government with no majority “now lies with the MPs in parliament”, he told his audience, in a speech which the director of Diário de Notícias André Macedo denounced as “brutal” for its party-political bias.

As news cameras bounced from party HQ to parliamentary lobby for reactions, the bottom line is that the Portugal à Frente coalition has welcomed the president’s “respect and honour for the will of the people” and declared that now is the time for “parliamentary responsibility”.

Elsewhere, minority parties that together have been seeking to form a left wing alliance are lamenting Cavaco Silva’s decision, saying it simply “wastes time” and offers the opposite to the “stability and durability” that the president has long said is so important for the future of Portugal.

What happens next remains to be seen as pundits now debate the repercussions of Cavaco’s words.

Some give the next government less than 10 days, others a little longer.

Talking on RTP this evening, André Macedo said Passos Coelho “will now be defeated in parliament” and Cavaco will “have no choice but to nominate PS leader António Costa”.

The alternative will be a country “paralysed” by the unions, he warned.

For more reactions to Cavaco’s decision, see tomorrow’s report online in the portugal resident.

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