Portugal appears to be sliding towards another political and economic crisis. The non-party government led?
Portugal appears to be sliding towards another political and economic crisis. The non-party government led by Prime Minister Carlos Mota Pinto, was defeated in parliament on Thursday (22 March) on its unpopular austerity budget for 1979. Senhor Mota Pinto hinted he would resign, but said he would wait until next Monday (26 March), When President Antonio Ramalho Eanes returns from a tour of Eastern Europe. The present government had been in power for only four months. In Lisbon, a left-wing weekly, Journal said early elections now appeared inevitable.
SYNOPSIS: All parties in parliament had made clear their dislike for the austerity package, especially a plan to levy in tax more tan half the 'thirteenth-month' bonus salaries paid to workers each Christmas. Senhor Mota Pinto address parliament. Before the vote, it was thought the problems of finding an alternative to his cabinet might make parliament resist causing another crisis. But both major parties decided to abstain in the crucial vote. They are the socialist of former Prime Minister Mario Soares and the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) led by Dr. Francisco sa Carneiro. Dr. sa Carneiro had been urging early elections to solve the country's crisis, and had accused President Eanes of giving the government week support in its plan to hand back some collectivised farmlands to private ownership.
In the vote, the budget was defeated by forty-six votes to forty-three, with one hundred and sixteen abstentions. communists and other leftists votes against it, and five PSD deputies joined the conservative Centre Democrats in voting for it.
Later, Senhor Soares gave his views.
He said the Socialists had, in fact, opposed the present government from the moment it was sworn in. They regarded it as right-wing, and felt it did not adhere to the spirit of the new Portugal, and the struggles of its people. So, Senhor Soares added,it was natural that the Socialists should vote against the austerity programme that he been put forward. His members had abstained during the vote.