In Portugal, the Portuguese Communist Party secretary-general, his party Dr Alvaro Cunhal, told a rally on Sunday (10 September) that would table a motion in parliament rejecting the new independent government's austerity programme.
In Portugal, the Portuguese Communist Party secretary-general, his party Dr Alvaro Cunhal, told a rally on Sunday (10 September) that would table a motion in parliament rejecting the new independent government's austerity programme. The following day, he did so, and the Socialists jolted Prime Minister Nobre da Costa's government by saying they, too, would reject the programme. Unless parliament endorses it after a four-day debate (which began on Monday, 11 September), President Antonio Eanes must nominate another prime minister to former government.
SYNOPSIS: Dr Cunhal made his announcement at a communist fair in the Jumor Calley, near Lisbon. Delegates, and display stands were there from many communist countries -- including Angola, hungary, the Soviet Union and Bulgaria. The Portuguese communists, Dr Cunhal said, rejected Senhor da Costa's programme because it did not meet the country's immediate needs. Political observers said the communists were not likely to get enough support for the absolute majority needed to topple the government.
Dr Cunhal said the communists would not support rejection proposals put down by any other party, a stance that could allow the government to survive a crucial test in parliament.
In fact, another major party, the Conservative Centre Democrats (CDS), joined the communists and socialists in tabling their own rejection motion.
This left the centre-right Social Democrats as the only big party not putting such pressure on the two-weeks-old government. The Social Democrats said they were unlikely to vote against the government. Although opinions varied on the government's possible fate, leading Socialist and CDS deputies predicated it could fall. Many were talking of a close and tense vote at the end of the debate, which was due on Thursday (14 September).
The communists do not like the new governments expressed coolness towards the communist collectives that were formed on land seized after the 1974 election. Prime Minister Da Costa has said he is not convinced they are the best solution for Portugal's economic problems, though he promised to judge each collective on its own merits.