HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Portugal: The Left Takes ...

Wed Dec 2, 2015, 10:16 AM

Portugal: The Left Takes Charge

By Conn Hallinan
Source: Foreign Policy in Focus
December 1, 2015

Portugal’s elections saw three left parties—the Socialist Party, the Left Bloc, and the Communist/Green Alliance take 62 percent of the vote and end the right-wing Forward Portugal Party’s majority in the 230-seat parliament. Forward Portugal is made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Popular Party.

Even though Forward Portugal lost the election—it emerged the largest party, but garnered only 38 percent of the votes—Silva allowed its leader, former Prime Minister Passos Coelho, to form a government. That maneuver lasted just 11 days. When Coelho introduced a budget loaded with austerity measures and privatization schemes, the left alliance voted it down, forcing the government to resign.

Rather than giving the left alliance a chance to form a government, however, Silva—a former leader of the Social Democrats—insisted that the alliance pledge in writing that it would maintain the country’s role in NATO and commit itself to eurozone financial rules. Portugal is a member of the 19-country eurozone, those countries in the 28-member European Union that use the euro as a common currency.


Portugal is the victim of the great 2008 international banking crisis. At the time, Portugal’s debt was small and its public spending modest, but speculators drove up the price of borrowing beyond what the country’s small economy could manage. Through no fault of its own, Portugal suddenly found itself on the edge of bankruptcy.


The left alliance government is unprecedented in Portugal, where the Communists and the Socialists have locked horns since the 1974 Carnation Revolution overthrew the 48-year old dictatorship. But four years of austerity have apparently convinced everyone on the left that there needs to be some immediate relief.

The Communists and the Left Bloc have agreed to temporarily shelve their demands to exit NATO and the euro zone, and the Socialists have agreed to roll back austerity measures, cut taxes, and raise pensions and wages. Privatization will be on hold.

There are still major differences within the alliance, however, and not just over dumping the euro and getting out of NATO. The Communists and Left Bloc want debt reduction because much of the country’s encumbrances are the result of private speculators, not profligate public spending. The Socialists did not mention debt reduction during the election and, at least for now, seem committed to repaying all debts.

However, the new government is pledged to loosen austerity’s grip and to challenge the Troika’s tight-fisted formula for economic recovery with one based on economic stimulus. If successful, that could model a new strategy for the rest of Europe, where, in spite of years of austerity, economies are still sluggish or in recession.


Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/portugal-the-left-takes-charge/

2 replies, 796 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply Portugal: The Left Takes Charge (Original post)
polly7 Dec 2015 OP
marmar Dec 2015 #1
PeoViejo Dec 2015 #2

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Wed Dec 2, 2015, 12:17 PM

1. K/R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to polly7 (Original post)

Wed Dec 2, 2015, 04:32 PM

2. K&R n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread