Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Portuguese will vote Sunday on the social cuts

Lisbon (Writing / Agencies) - Portugal held an early election Sunday that could end months of political turmoil and economic, after which the new government will have to implement the tough measures in the rescue of 78,000 million euros it has received the country. The opposition center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) is the most voted, according to the polls, but may need a coalition to take power and fill the void left in March, the fall of the socialist government, which had no majority, Reuters reports.

Since then, Portugal has been on a roller coaster, struggling against a deep recession, loan rates at record levels and an interim government lacks the power to lead the tense bailout negotiations. The PSD of Pedro Passos Coelho need a sufficient majority to enable it to raise taxes and implement the necessary reforms to control the country's huge debt.

Analysts expect it to be the most voted-the latest polls give him around 37 percent of the vote, and to form a government with the rightwing Social and Democratic Centre (CDS), its historic ally. "We will probably have a majority government with the Social Democrats and the CDS, which probably provide political stability," said Adelino Maltez, political analyst at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon.

Although all parties agreed to the terms of the bailout in April, before the election call, the key for investors is how much authority will the next government to obtain approval for austerity measures and reforms in Parliament. "The way this plan is very long and full of reforms that may be politically difficult to pass," said Diego Iscaro, economist at IHS Global Insight.

The conditions of the ransom to three years is a general tax increase, deep spending cuts and reforms to boost competitiveness, which is expected to give an economic contraction of two percent both this year and next. It also has strict targets to reduce the budget deficit and reduce the debt burden of the country, which is about 90 percent of domestic production.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates, won a second term in 2009, but without sufficient majority relied upon the PSD to pass laws, which many analysts say has undermined its ability to avoid the sovereign debt crisis and ultimately led Portugal to go to Greece and Ireland and ransom of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

"It was just the lack of a strong government with a majority sparking demand for ransom by Portugal when it sank Socrates government unable to pass the austerity measures," said Iscar. Most Portuguese are disillusioned with politics and fear the economic sacrifices that lie ahead, whoever wins on Sunday.

"This election is just about personal struggles. It seems that our elites are weak and I am pessimistic about my future and that of my country," said Joaquim Maia, a construction worker of 41 years. During the election campaign, the leading candidates have tried to avoid discussing the implications of the ransom and have chosen to exchange accusations about the mistakes that led to it.

Unemployment is at record levels, with 12.4 percent. Until now, labor protests have been very relevant, but analysts believe they could increase the austerity measures strengthened and as the recession begins to feel at home. The low expectations of the Portuguese on the future raises the risk that Sunday's result is inconclusive.

About a third of voters have not decided yet how they voted, which means that the Socialists of Socrates could recover and lead the president, the conservative Aníbal Cavaco Silva, to promote a broad coalition of the three main parties to the to avoid political instability. Cavaco Silva has ordered the constitutional mandate to form a government.

"The solution of a broad government would be necessary if the Socialists take out more votes than the Social Democrats," said Maltz.

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