Portugal’s media has dubbed it a divorce.
The centre-right coalition that governed for 27 days under the onomatopeic banner PAF, has been ‘officially dissolved’ by former prime minister and PSD leader Passos Coelho.
At the end of his parliamentary group’s Christmas meeting at the Republican Assembly yesterday, Passos Coelho explained: “There is no need for any formal act to put it to an end. It’s the way it is. It ended when the government fell”.
Thus CDS leader Paulo Portas – the man international observers dubbed “a teflon politician” for his knack of surviving any whiff of scandal – is now back in charge of a party that has only 18 MPs – one less than the Left Bloc party he jointly accused of trying to stage a coup in order to seize power.
As Portas removes himself to the Opposition benches, muttering veiled threats of “don’t expect us to be there if you need help one day” to the Socialist administration, his newly-liberated better half appears to be have recreated himself. Far from continuing to cast aspersions on the government of António Costa, Passos Coelho is now at pains to advise the European People’s Party to show “moderation”.
Talking to TVI last night, the PSD leader said EPP had shown “some apprehension” to Portugal’s new alliance with “antiEuropean” parties (the BE Left Bloc and PCP communists), but that it should be given time to put its “choices on the table”.
“I have stopped being prime minister, but I have not stopped being concerned with my country and with Europe”, he explained. “And thus I hope that everything that can happen from here on will be in line with what has been the interest of the large majority of Portuguese for years, which is two feet well within the European project”.
As national tabloid Correio da Manhã reminds its readers, Passos Coelho announced last week that he will be standing as candidate for prime minister whenever the chance arises.