Early elections “would be completely irrational”: PM Costa addresses opposition to draft State Budget

Prime Minister António Costa said today that the possibility of calling early elections due to disagreements over the government’s proposed State Budget for 2022 “would be completely irrational”.

Although none of the opposition parties have been supportive of the draft budget as it is now, Costa remains confident that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

Left-wing parties Bloco de Esquerda and PCP have shown a willingness to negotiate with the ruling PS government, while PSD leader Rui Rio revealed today that his party plans to vote against the budget and that there was a “50/50 chance” of a political crisis erupting.

While he disagrees with the document now, Rio said that “it could get much, much worse” if the government accepts the demands made by BE and PCP.

“In the case of PCP, they are asking for changes to labour law, when what we need is to support companies, employment and investment,” said Rio.

He also showed no willingness to negotiate with PS, as he said the socialists only expressed a desire to negotiate “to the left”.

President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – who is welcoming the leaders of Parliament’s political parties this afternoon to discuss the budget – has warned that “early elections” could be a very likely scenario if the budget is rejected.

However, he said that this scenario would “shut down” the country for six months, calling on parties to put “good sense” above their differences and reach some sort of agreement.

Costa is also adamant that the country has had “enough drama” recently.

“We’ve lost over 18,000 lives (to Covid-19), another million Portuguese were infected, it’s best that we do not forget the hell we lived this past year and a half. Do you want more drama? I do not,” he said, while visiting a school in Benfica do Ribatejo today.

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