“Luck, creativity and merit” – Portugal’s government wins PSD praise

Former Porto mayor and PSD heavyweight Rui Rio has praised Portugal’s Socialist government for its ‘creativity and merit’ as well as ‘luck’, in the wake of prime minister António Costa’s Mayday message to the people, stressing the government’s achievement in reducing unemployment to below 10%.

Rio’s praise is seen as another sign that PSD leader Pedro Passos Coelho may have a fight on his hands for the leadership.

People’s tabloid Correio da Manhã regularly features poll news and forecasts – the latest suggesting PS popularity is going through the roof, while PSD support is plumbing new depths.

A CM/ Aximage poll taken last month, shows the government likely to get 42% of the country on its side in a legislative election, while PSD voting intentions have dropped 12% points since 2015, to just 24.6%.

Rumblings have been felt for months, with various journalists asking Passos Coelho whether it is time to step down (which up till now he has insisted that it isn’t).

CM however suggests failure in the upcoming municipal elections would prove new impetus for a leadership contest.

Meantime, Costa has had his ‘message’ beamed across the nation: “workers rights have to be defended”, a competitive economy cannot be based on low salaries, and the combat of precarity is an “absolute priority”.

“Now and in the future, we have to guarantee that employment will always be work with rights”, he said in an opinion article published in Diário de Notícias – stressing that it “was not by chance, that the first large popular protest after April 25 was on Labour Day (Dia do Trabalhador), and that this legacy has “never made so much sense”.

By coincidence, Costa’s article came out a day after CGTP workers union boss Arménio Carlos told TSF radio that he could not rule out the chance of a general strike if the government continued to dodge “social dialogue” over various work-related problems.

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