Sunday, June 5, 2011

Passos Coelho's conservatives won the legislative elections in Portugal

Victoria unmitigated opposition leader in Portugal. Pedro Passos Coelho, 47, candidate of the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) will be the next head of the Government of Portugal, according to early official results which give a clear victory in parliamentary elections Sunday, with a percentage ranging 41.4% of the vote.

In the elections of 2009 was 29.1%. Outgoing Prime Minister and candidate of the Socialist Party (PS), José Socrates, big loser, gets 28.9% (36.5% in 2009). In third place is Paulo Portas, candidate of the rightist Social Democratic Center (CDS), to 10.8% (10.4%). The parliamentary spectrum will end with the two parties to the left of the Socialists, Communists and Greens coalition, with 6.7% (7.8%) and Left Bloc, with 4.2% (9, 8%).

Soon after the results of the defeat, Socrates has announced he is resigning as leader of the Socialists lusos. "I do not hide behind the circumstances, the electoral defeat is mine, and I assume in full tonight. So I think it's time to open a new political cycle in the Socialist Party, said before the militants and press red-eyed and visibly shaken.

Earlier, government spokesman, Jose Vieira da Silva, acknowledged the scale of the defeat. "These are clear results that everyone has to admit," said disappointed with the socialist activists gathered at a downtown hotel in Lisbon. Quite the opposite of the euphoria that is experienced at the headquarters of PSD, whose general secretary, Manuel Relvas, stressed that the outcome of elections "is the recognition of a change project and hope for Portugal." The sweeping victory of Passos Coelho is a shift in the Portuguese political scene dominated by the Socialist Party since February 2005.

The winner cherishes the absolute majority: the first results attributed to between 107 and 121 deputies, which is half plus one of the 230 deputies of the Portuguese unicameral Parliament, called the Assembly of the Republic. If not govern alone, the PSD will seek an alliance with the CDS in a repeat of the coalition that governed between March 2002 and February 2005.

As of Saturday there was a seeming unanimity in Portugal on the need for a broad-based parliamentary government to implement tough austerity program agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for a loan of 78,000 million euros . Portugal has had several government alliances, the PS and CDS (1976 and 1977), PS and PSD (the so-called Central Bloco 1983-1985), and the PSD and the CDS between 2003 and 2005.

But after the overwhelming victory of Passos Coelho, the temptation to govern alone flies in the early hours of election night. High abstention The day was developed normally, on a hot day many Portuguese took advantage to go on the beach. The climate and political disillusionment that prevails in the country invited to go to the polls, as reflected by the low turnout, which will run between 38% and 43%, according to preliminary estimates.

In the legislative elections of 2009 was 40.3%. Two hundred thousand Portuguese were able to vote for the first time in legislative elections, having served 18 years. The winner voted at 11 am in Lisbon. To the harassment of journalists, Passos Coelho made a brief statement to say that Portugal is in a difficult period, "but this country will begin to have prosperity in two or three years." He added: "The country knows that it is observed from the outside with a lot of attention.

And all these choices deserve Portuguese elapsed with the greatest civility." Socrates, in turn, passed an hour and a half later, also in the Portuguese capital, and would only say that it is "wrong impression" to think that "the Portuguese are uninterested in politics." Combat bankruptcy The next government will have no time to lose.

It has a detailed table on the austerity program signed with international financial organizations, will lead to a high social cost. But first, on 15 June, must return to the market a whopping 4.899 million euros in debt maturities. That same day, the Treasury has scheduled an auction of some 750 million euros in debt.

The darkest forecasts of the future not just of the opposition and those critical of the austerity program. The Bank of Portugal, has signed an agreement with the troika of the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank, acknowledged that the social impact of the measures "will be substantial" and provides a macroeconomic scenario for the near future "particularly severe" .

The Portuguese experience awaits them as they have lived the last years the Greeks. There are several points in common between the two cases. Both countries were forced to seek outside help to avoid falling into bankruptcy. In exchange for the billionaire bailout of the European Union and the IMF had to approve two programs of austerity.

In Greece, the new socialist government of George Papandreou had to release a year ago with a hugely unpopular adjustment plan that included a pay cut of officials, tax increases, elimination of social benefits and labor market flexibility. The immediate consequence was a decline in the income of the majority of the population, with a consequent fall in consumption and investment.

The austerity measures to Portugal will be a replica of those used in Greece, so the effects will not be very different, except that the government of Jose Socrates and several previously approved adjustment plans. The European Commission forecasts speak for themselves: the economy will shrink by 4% between 2011 and 2012, unemployment will reach 13% (the unions provide 15%).

In real terms, wages will drop 3.6% this year, and 1.9% in 2012, access to credit and undergoes a major retraction, so consumption will fall 4.4% in 2011 and 3, 8% in 2012.

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