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Portugal's Parliament Approves Minority Conservative Government's Program

12.04.2024 16:57

Socialist Party says it would not ‘block’ government, but will act as strong opposition.

The fractured Portuguese parliament passed Prime Minister Luis Montenegro's program on Friday, ushering in a new conservative era.

While the majority of the country's politicians opted not to block the program, Socialist Party leader Pedro Nuno Santos said his party's abstention "only means allowing the beginning of government action, not support for the government."

Montenegro's Democratic Alliance (AD) party beat the Socialists by a hair in March elections, but the country's right-wing block won a solid lead as a whole after the far-right party Chega jumped from 12 to 50 seats in the 230-seat assembly.

Chega voted in favor of the center-right government's program, but its leader Andre Ventura said it will also be making its demands on the Portuguese leader.

During his speech, Ventura said Chega will try to change this year's budget, already passed by the Socialist Party, and spoke about fighting "the invasion of immigrants" and "gender ideology in schools."

Meanwhile, politicians from far-left parties failed in their attempt to block the government's program.

"Portugal is a country where you work a lot for little money. The government's program has nothing to change this situation," said Fabian Figueiredo, parliamentary leader of the Left Bloc.

Under Montenegro's program, the Portuguese government aims to maintain balanced budgets, lower taxes, increase pensions and wages for workers like teachers and doctors, reduce public debt and privatize the country's airline TAP.

While the government has cleared its first hurdles, analysts suggest that governability could be extremely difficult, as Montenegro has expressed his reluctance about dealing with the far-right.

On Monday, he will take his first international trip abroad to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Sanchez has suggested he will try to coordinate with Montenegro to recognize Palestine as an independent state as soon as possible. -

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