Portugal gets new members of govt likely to be short-lived

AP News
Posted: Oct 27, 2015 9:36 AM
Portugal gets new members of govt likely to be short-lived

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's prime minister named his Cabinet on Tuesday for what could be one of the country's briefest governments ever.

Pedro Passos Coelho presented his list of senior government officials to the Portuguese head of state for formal approval. They were to be sworn in Friday, after which the center-right coalition government has 10 days to present its four-year policy program to Parliament.

Center-left parties have more votes in Parliament than the minority government and have vowed to reject the program, forcing the government's resignation after just days in office.

To replace the center-right administration the moderate Socialist Party is negotiating the creation of a majority government with the Communist Party and the radical Left Bloc following the Oct. 4 general election.

They campaigned against the austerity measures demanded by creditors after Portugal's 78 billion-euro ($86 billion) bailout in 2011 and which were implemented by Passos Coelho's previous government.

Passos Coelho's procedural meeting with the president was unannounced and he entered the presidential palace in Lisbon through a side entrance, avoiding waiting media in a reflection of the political tension of recent weeks.

The Cabinet featured eight new ministers, most of them party heavyweights apparently recruited for what is likely to be a bruising political battle in Parliament.

Passos Coelho also set up two new government departments — a Ministry for Culture, which center-left parties had campaigned to create, and a Ministry for Administrative Modernization, which responds to creditors' demands to reduce red tape.