Portugal’s political stalemate has come to a tentative conclusion after Socialist leader Antonio Costa was named Prime Minister, in a move that will certainly raise eyebrows in Brussels.
Costa and his emergent left leaning parliamentary grouping will now be charged with forming a new government after ousting the conservative minority government in a dramatic vote on November 11.
The alliance, consisting of the Socialist, Communist, Green and Left Bloc parties, unexpectedly put aside their differences to tackle Passos Coelho’s government, which had won a plurality of seats on October 4 but lost its absolute majority.
Conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva was reportedly reluctant to hand over control but admitted it ‘would not have served the national interest’ to leave Passos Coehlo in power.
Mr Costa, 54, and the former Mayor of Lisbon, will now run a socialist programme seeking to ‘turn the page on austerity’. The minimum wage and pensions are expected to be raised, whilst written guarantees have been provided that stability and adherence to European rules will be of paramount priority.
The country continues to recover from a €78bn bailout provided in 2011 and Portugal becomes the second Eurozone country this year to rebel against the austerity paradigm favoured within the EU.