Portugal's first woman Prime Minister, Maria de Lurdes Pintassilgo, has been forming the country's new government after being appointed by President Antonio Romalho Eanes as head of a caretaker administration to take the country into autumn elections.
Portugal's first woman Prime Minister, Maria de Lurdes Pintassilgo, has been forming the country's new government after being appointed by President Antonio Romalho Eanes as head of a caretaker administration to take the country into autumn elections. Thursday's appointment (19 July), brought a hostile reaction from right-wing parties who were hoping for an early poll, but the move does seem popular with the Portuguese Communist Party.
SYNOPSIS: Miss Pintassilgo's appointment ends six weeks of political uncertainty in Portugal following the resignation of Dr. Carlos Mota Pinto's apolitical government. The new Prime Minster also has no party affiliations. She was Social affairs Minister in two provisional governments after the 1974 revolution and has been Portuguese ambassador to the United Nations body UNESCO, since 1975. Miss Pintassilgo told newsmen that she felt it was her duty to accept the task of seeing the country through to the general elections. She said she was confident of overcoming the reservations expressed by some political leaders and hoped to complete her government by the end of next week.
The new Prime Minister faces many economic problems. Dr. Pinto's six months in office were dogged by left-wing opposition to his austerity measures. Continuing political uncertainty could impede negotiations with the International Monetary fund for vital stand-by credit.
The appointment has been favourable received by the country's Communist party. The socialists -- led by former premier Mario Soares -- are also believed to have no objections. But many of the centre-right parties have expressed concern, accusing Miss Pintassilgo of having leftist and third-world sympathies.
At Wednesday's (18 July) meeting of the central communist committee party leader, Alvaro Cunhal welcomed the prospect of Miss Pintassilgo's government -- providing her policies were not controversial and led to an early general election.