Portuguese government “intentionally lied” over reimbursement of IRS surcharge

On yet another ‘nail-biting day’ for Portuguese democracy, the head of the country’s accountancy body has gone on record to say that the centre-right coalition government “intentionally lied” over the amount of money it would start handing out if it was returned to power in last October’s elections.

The move was “pure electioneering”, claims Domingos Azevedo, and this was particularly “bad” as it was transparently intentional.

What upset him most, Azevedo told a meeting today, was the “unscrupulous way” that the government had “played with the sensibility of people” who did not have sufficient technical knowledge to see through pretence.

In September, before the country went to the polls, Finance Minister Maria Luís Albuquerque was intimating a 35% reimbursement of the IRS surcharge.

By October, after the coalition had been returned to a condition where it had no power, the reimbursement was down to 9.7% – and now, if revelations by Jornal de Notícias are to be believed, the likely figure for people to receive is 0%.

Azevedo is just the latest critic to throw his hat into the ring where political mud-slinging has been at fever pitch since the PSD/CDS-PP coalition lost its majority to left wingers.

But his words came on the day that many feel will bring an end to the country’s state of political limbo.

With the deficit creeping up by the day, and once again topping 130% of GDP, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem has added his voice to the clamouring for a decision on who should lead the government – saying it is imperative that Portugal presents its budgetary plan for 2016.

The country is already in major hot water for failing to deliver a budget forecast before the elections. But until President Cavaco Silva appoints a workable government, hands are tied.

Thus the pressure on Cavaco Silva eight weeks since the country plunged into a political no-man’s-land is now at a new level.

The question on everyone’s mind is ‘will he finally make a move?’