In Portugal, a 49-year-old diplomat and chemical engineer, Maria De Lourdes Pintasilgo became the country's first woman Prime Minister on Wednesday (1 August).
In Portugal, a 49-year-old diplomat and chemical engineer, Maria De Lourdes Pintasilgo became the country's first woman Prime Minister on Wednesday (1 August). She was sworn in with her sixteen cabinet ministers, becoming Portugal's eleventh government since the 1974 revolution. Her government is only an interim one until general elections in November.
SYNOPSIS: The new Prime Minister Miss Pintasilgo presented her cabinet in a ceremony at Lisbon's Ajuda Palace. She has already been bitterly attacked by the main right-wing parties for alleged left-wing bias.
Miss Pintasilgo has the task of paving the way for November's general elections called in a bid to break Portugal's long political deadlock. But her "one hundred day government" as she calls it, also has to take tough economic action to fulfill a delayed loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund. She also faced the task of finding a cabinet that would, according to President Eanes -- guarantee the independence and neutrality needed to ensure free elections.
Her cabinet has been described as a mixture of technocrats, close associates and independent politicians who have broken away from the centre-right Social Democrats (PDS). Foreign Minister Senhor Freitas Cruz stays in the job -- a veteran of the last government.
President Eanes said he was forced into calling the elections because the political parties have failed to reach an agreement that would provide stable majority government in Portugal.
The one other woman in the cabinet is Doctor Maria Santa Clara Gomez who was appointed the Secretary of State.
During Miss Pintasilgo's first address as Prime Minister she coined the phrase "the march of one hundred days" and warned that her new administration would have to implement tough measures. Its task, she said, is not only to bring about interim elections but to consolidate the wishes of the Portuguese people.