The conservatives emerged as the clear winners of Portugal's parliamentary elections, in which Socialist Prime Minister José Sócrates was ousted by Pedro Passos Coelho. But the European press doubts Coelho will be able to lead the stricken country out of the crisis single-handedly, and recommends a grand coalition.
The conservative Pedro Passos Coelho and his PSD party won 39 percent of the vote and will replace Portugal's socialist Prime Minister José Sócrates. But all that will really change is who implements the austerity measures, writes the daily Jornal de Notícias: "So now it's the PSD and the [right-wing conservative] CDS, instead of the PS, who will act as governor for the IMF, the EU and the ECB and implement the 'market's' plans for the protectorate Portugal. ... If our electoral system didn't pretend the 40 percent of Portuguese [who did not vote] didn't exist, more than 90 seats in the next Parliament would remain empty. And the parties would have the number of representatives that truly represents their popularity among voters, namely just over half. In the language of the 'markets' that corresponds to the 'junk' rating." (06/06/2011)
Difficult tasks await the winner of Portugal's general election, according to the business paper Expansión: "The new government faces the major challenge of leading the country out of its deep financial crisis and giving the citizens, aware that hard times lie ahead, fresh hope. Portugal must privatise public companies, raise taxes, cut spending and reduce the compensation for job dismissals. One idea of Passos Coelho is to reduce the number of ministries to ten, which has triggered fears in the areas in question like culture. The Portuguese politicians are eyeing Greece and fear that the austerity measures imposed by the EU in exchange for the bailout will only worsen the recession in their country as it has done in Greece. This is a complicated panorama, and the population's despair is understandable." (06/06/2011)
Following the election victory of the conservative PSD in Portugal the centre-right CDS is a potential coalition partner. But in view of the current financial crisis an alliance between the PSD and the outgoing socialist PS would be a more promising option, writes the business paper De Tijd: "These two parties should now assume responsibility. If they both back the same austerity plan this would be the best guarantee for the people that the urgently needed reforms are now finally to be put into practice. Because in the past one of the big parties was always looking on from the sidelines no one has had the courage to take the plunge. ... The ruling party always found a reason not to do what was necessary, most recently out of fear that the payback would come in the next elections and they would have to hand over power to the big rival. If both parties were sitting in the same boat Portugal would perhaps be able to start a new, more positive chapter in the foreseeable future." (06/06/2011)