Friday, April 1, 2011

Portugal president calls snap elections

Portuguese President, Anibal Cavaco Silva

Source: Press TV

Following last week's resignation of Portuguese Prime minister Jose Socrates, the debt-ridden country's President Anibal Cavaco Silva has dissolved the parliament and scheduled snap elections.

"Following the prime minister's resignation I have decided to dissolve parliament and call a general election for June 5," said Silva on Thursday, Reuters reported.

He added that the prime minister's government would remain in office until the elections.

The prime minister submitted his resignation as the main opposition center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) and other minor parties blocked his government's austerity measures, proposed to prevent the country from resorting to external borrowing in order to shrink its deficit.

The prime minister's government reportedly intended to convince investors and the European Union that it could contain its budget deficit and avoid outcomes similar to those of Greece and Ireland by minimizing spending.

Apart from austerity measures already enforced, which involves tax hikes and pay cuts in the public sector, the government announced additional austerity measures earlier this month to reduce its deficit, including taxing pensions and cutting healthcare spending and social security payments.

Portugal faces a financial and political crisis as the country needs hefty loans to pay off its nine billion euro ($12.9 billion) debt bill by a June 15 deadline

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