Cavaco unrepentant over speech dubbed “coup d’état” as government due to present programme on November 9-10

As news today centres on the fact that the Portugal à Frente coalition will be presenting its future programme for debate on Monday November 9, international media has been debating the interpretation that President Cavaco Silva’s speech last week was equivalent to a “coup d’état”.

Portuguese journalists writing in the US and UK have been quick to explain, “what happened in Portugal was not a coup”.

“It was the action of a bad president within a bad system at a difficult point in Portuguese history,” explains Filipe Henriques, writing in the UK Guardian.

“The aftermath of the Portuguese elections has been messy – but those who cry foul play either misunderstand how Portugal works, or are blinkered by Brexit fervour,” he adds.

“The most probable scenario is that by the end of the next month Portugal will have a left-wing government,” he continues, as the combined left-wing forces in parliament appear united in their determination to present a joint motion of rejection of the new government’s programme, and then “the president will have to take a new decision”.

But as Portuguese media explains today, Cavaco is unrepentant over the underlying messages in his speech, which centred on the Left Bloc and Communists’ anti-European programmes threatening to derail the country as it emerged from crippling recession.

“This was despite the fact that the Socialists have said they would guarantee Portugal’s continued membership of the EU – including the economic union – and Nato,” adds Henriques.

It was this aspect of the speech that was described as uniting left wing parties in a way nothing else before ever had.

For now, it is a question of ‘all eyes on November 9’, as daily political updates in the national news will no doubt be in plentiful supply.

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