In Portugal President Antonio Ramalho Eanes has described his country's present crisis as not just stemming from political problems but also from economic and social difficulties.
In Portugal President Antonio Ramalho Eanes has described his country's present crisis as not just stemming from political problems but also from economic and social difficulties. In an interview on Tuesday (31 October) President Eanes said the crisis was all part of the development of democracy in his country.
SYNOPSIS: At Belem Palace near Lisbon, President Eanes together with his wife and children, faced a gathering of newsmen to speak about the complicated political situation currently facing Portugal's new Premier-Designate, Dr. Carlos Mota Pinto. The press conference came at a time when observers feel prospects for a two year political truce being called in Portugal to avoid disruptive elections, could be seriously damaged by the refusal of the Social Democrats to back Dr. Pinto.
In answer to questions President Eanes said his country's present condition was part of the process of democracy growing up in Portugal.
Backed by the President, Dr. Pinto is trying to form the country's fourth constitutional government. Observers say the government will face a difficult task ahead especially in the area of land reform. President Eanes said that Portugal's political crisis involved what he described as several psychological factors'. Not only political -- but economic and social.
President Eanes said a number of Portugal's government departments and institutions had been functioning intermittently. He said that although this had been disquieting it could be explained by the uncustomary atmosphere of democratic freedom in which government administrators now find themselves living and working.
The President went on to say that as far as political institutions were concerned, guidelines had been set up to administer the country's armed forces properly. President Eanes said the new guideline for Portugal's political objectives were determined by the will of the people.
Reporters asked President Eanes whether there may now be a change in Portugal's relationship with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). President Eanes said that Portugal was in a very strategic position and the nature of its defence forces made it possible to be part of a defence alliance such as NATO. He said Portugal's contribution to NATO was considerable because of its strategic position and because of the country's past military experience in wars in Africa. But President Eanes said he hoped NATO's attention would be drawn to Portugal's economic problems along with its need for more military equipment.
President Eanes said if such assistance was forthcoming it would enable a Portuguese government to withstand external and internal pressures and hold a stronger position within the framework of the NATO alliance.