In Portugal the fate of the minority Socialist Government was hanging in the balance on Wednesday (7 December) as Parliamentary prepared to vote on an issue of confidence in Prime Minister Mario Soares.
In Portugal the fate of the minority Socialist Government was hanging in the balance on Wednesday (7 December) as Parliamentary prepared to vote on an issue of confidence in Prime Minister Mario Soares. The Portuguese leader had staked the life of his 16-month-old government on the vote, in an effort to get support for tough policies to deal with the economic crises facing the country.
SYNOPSIS: A marathon debate in the Portuguese Assembly building in Lisbon would decide whether or not Prime Minister Soares had succeeded in his biggest political gamble. the debate began on Tuesday and was being held against a background of economic difficulty which has given Portugal high unemployment and an inflation rate of 27 per cent. The country also has a balance of payments deficit of 1.2 billion U.S. dollars.
It was these economic problems that persuaded premier Soares to put his government on the line. He was seeking full support for tough economic measures, something he has been unable to get in the past. His main opponents are the two right-wing parties in the Assembly, the Social Democrats and the Centre Democrats, who together hold 114 seats compared with 102 held by premier Soares' socialists. They said they would vote against him, they would vote against him, leaving the Communists with their 40 seats, holding the key to his survival. Premier Soares, however, made it clear that he would make no concessions to stay in power.
The Communist reaction to Prime Minister Soares' stand was not known. They said they would wait to the very last moment before showing their hand.