Portugal's President Antonio Eanes has been holding talks with the country's four main parties in an attempt to resolve a political crisis brought about by the resignation of Prime Minister Mota Pinto.
Portugal's President Antonio Eanes has been holding talks with the country's four main parties in an attempt to resolve a political crisis brought about by the resignation of Prime Minister Mota Pinto. The President is face with the choice of dissolving parliament and calling an election within 90 days, or finding a replacement Prime Minister who would be capable of commanding a majority in the 263-seat parliament. Mr. Pinto, who resigned on Thursday (June 7), said he would remain in office until a new government took over.
SYNOPSIS: The Prime Minister's resignation was announced after he held talks with General Eanes at the presidential palace. In his official statement, General Eanes said he made his decision to accept Mr. pinto's resignation after consulting the 19-member military council of the revolution, which he heads as commander-in-chief of the armed forces who ousted nearly half-a-century of right-wing dictatorship in 1974. Mr. Pinto told reporters he might stay in office until interim elections, provided the President made a public statement to that effect he complained that the concerted opposition of the socialists and communists, who command a majority in parliament, prevented him from governing.
An election would be costly both in political and economic terms, and there is considerable doubt whether one party could emerge with a majority of seats in the parliament. The resulting government would have a limited life anyway. Under the terms of the constitution, the Portuguese electorate must vote again late next year. Socialist leader Dr. Mario Soares has said there are many alternatives to be tried before elections now. He has ruled out a government led by socialists, the strongest party in parliament, except as a last resort. Mr. Pinto, as 42, is Europe's youngest Prime Minister. His party has been in office for just six months.