Red faces all round as Público reveals PSD gave its blessing to the troika

A new controversy in the thick of the Portugal’s pre-election battling has guaranteed that there are red faces all round.

Prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho – the man who has spent the last four years criticising his opposition rival for calling in the troika, apparently gave the decision his blessing in a letter written to José Sócrates in March of 2011.

The news, ‘broken’ by Público yesterday, has led to Left Bloc MP Catarina Martins declaring that Passos Coelho cannot rewrite history, much as he “likes to deny reality”.

But far from accepting the criticism, the coalition leader has attempted to turn it all round, suggesting the truth that his party was complicit in the decision “only embarrasses the PS”, as well as its leader António Costa.

“If I come to recall that four years ago that our house was burning, that we were in imminent danger of not having money in the multibanco (machines) and that the government did not have money to pay salaries and pensions… suggestions today that I could feel embarrassed can only backfire”, he said.

His letter, dated March 31 – just days before Sócrates requested the €78 billion bailout – was an “act of responsibility”, he added, considering the razzmatazz playing out in the press today as “in very poor taste” considering the seriousness of the issue.

Deputy PM Paulo Portas has waded into controversy suggesting the PS was in “total denial” and that this shows what dodgy customers they are.

“To be in absolute denial, to be convincing the country that it was not they who called in the troika, nor they who created the conditions for the troika to arrive, that it was not they who took the debt to 110% or let the deficit run to 11%, watch out. This state of denial, of not knowing what happened in 2011, is a sign of risk which, if allowed, could see the same mistake repeated in 2015”, he warned.

As election day approaches, the “balance” that politicians sought to demand from the nation’s press appears to be slipping away on its own.

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