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PSD plans to slash number of “bridges” and public holidays

If the PSD party wins the election on June 5, it proposes to push a bill through the Portuguese parliament cutting the number of public holidays from 14 to 10.

Holidays that fall on a working day, like Tuesday, could be shunted to a Monday to prevent people making weekend ‘bridges’ or ‘pontes’.

The idea, which has been bandied about by various political parties for years, was pledged by the leader of the PSD opposition, Pedro Passos Coelho, over the weekend.

The social-democrat leader told the news agency Lusa that he believed it would make Portugal more productive.

At the same time, he promised that key State public holidays such as May Day, April 25 and Republic Day (October 5) would not be sacrificed.

“We’ve got too many public holidays in Portugal,” he said in the interview, adding that they often appeared in the middle of the working week, completely breaking the country’s productivity.

He said that Portugal could celebrate its public holidays without affecting the nation’s competitiveness.

“We have to better organise our public holidays and cut some out entirely,” he added in Leiria where he was giving a speech at an election rally.

However, the PSD leader did not specify which public holiday he had in mind to axe, although it has been mooted that Carnival could be shifted to a Monday while December 1 (Restoration Day) could be scrapped altogether.

Pedro Passos Coelho is also said to disagree with the idea of having five straight days off over the Easter period.

In 2010, PS MPs Teresa Venda and Rosário Carneiro presented a project to reduce the number of public holidays from 14 to 10, in line with Spain.

The proposal was thrown out by the PS party, while two other main parties, the PSD and CDS-PP, abstained when put to the vote.