By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]
President Cavaco Silva stated that the minority PS government headed by José Sócrates could count on his cooperation at the official swearing in ceremony of the 18th democratic government to assume power in Portugal since the April 25th Revolution in 1974.
At the ceremony, which took place at Lisbon’s Ajuda Palace on Monday, he called on the government to “find compromises” with other political parties and assured the assembled ministers and party leaders that he will always be “a reference for stability”.
Cavaco Silva, who recently was at the centre of a political storm over alleged phone tapping and electronic surveillance of members of his staff at his official residence at the Belém Palace, stressed that given the “grave economic situation in the country and the complexity of the present political framework, all were called upon to act with a sense of responsibility and institutional loyalty.”
He said the government had “full constitutional legitimacy to govern” but warned that it was taking power at a “particularly difficult moment in the nation’s life”.
“We are faced with a worrying social and economic situation,” he said, adding that it was important to “increase national production of transactional goods” and to “reinforce the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy”.
Prime Minister José Sócrates stressed “responsibility” in his acceptance speech and maintained that his election victory was a “vote of confidence in a reformist government”.
Underscoring his commitment to “modernising the country”, he nevertheless accepted that times were “demanding and difficult” and said that the first priority was to “fight the crisis” by helping investment from private companies and protecting jobs.
Modernising the economy, renewable energy, cutting dependency on oil, reducing external debt, fighting climatic change and promoting technological innovation, research and development were high on the government’s list of priorities. “I have no doubt that everyone will give their best to confront the current challenges,” he said.
“I know full well the difficulties that many of our countrymen are facing. I know there are Portuguese without jobs, without access to education and dignified living conditions,” he added.
Above all, he accepted fully the value of social and political dialogue which was an important condition of stability.
The new PS government, which won the elections by a reduced majority on October 8, has undergone a radical reshuffle with half of the outgoing government either moving places or being replaced.
Ministries and ministers…
1. Minister of Finance – Fernando Teixeira dos Santos
1. Foreign Minister – Luís Amado
3. Minister of Internal Administration – Rui Pereira
4. Minister of Health – Ana Jorge
5. Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education – Mariano Gago
6. Minister of National Defence – Augusto Santos Silva
7. Minister of Economy – José Vieira da Silva
8. Minister of Justice – Alberto Martins
9. Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries – António Serrano
10. Environment Minister – Dulce Pássaro
11. Minister for Employment and Social Security – Maria Helena André
12. Minister of Culture – Gabriela Canavilhas
13. Minister of Education – Isabel Alçada
14. Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications – António Mendonça
15. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs – Jorge Lacão
16. Minister of the council of ministers presidency – Pedro Silva Pereira