Portugal: snap election inevitable?
Prime Minister António Costa's socialist minority government in Portugal is facing a crisis after a dispute over the 2022 budget. The Communists and the Left Bloc, which until now have supported the government, have voted against its draft budget. President Rebelo de Sousa had announced that he would dissolve parliament if the vote failed. Commentators harshly criticse the far left's stance.
Everyone knew this couldn't last
The loose left-wing alliance has rightly been called an "old boneshaker", writes Público:
“The outcome of the budget vote has fulfilled a prophecy. ... It probably arose when a social-democratic party embarked on a governmental adventure supported by an orthodox communist party and an intransigent left-wing party that clings to its aversion to the market economy and European liberalism. ... The prophecy has come true at the most inopportune moment - when the country is fighting a painful pandemic, EU aid is fuelling justified hopes of change and the government has presented the left-wing parties with the most generous budget ever. ... This was bound to happen.”
There are good reasons to stick together
Now the right-wing populist Chega party will get a boost, fears Diário de Notícias:
“A party that divides the Portuguese into 'good people' and 'the others' - those who don't see the world or the country as Chega does. A party that calls for a drastic reduction in social benefits and that supports the privatisation of the health system, to name just one of many measures directed against the welfare state. It is difficult to understand why this perspective did not function as an adhesive for the socialists, communists and the Bloco de Esquerda so that the 2022 budget could at least have been discussed in the second reading.”
The left is digging its own grave
The developments in Portugal are a result of the egoism of the radical left, writes El Mundo:
“Last September's municipal elections saw a shift of votes from the radical left to Costa's more moderate socialism, and the right was able to reconquer the office of Mayor of Lisbon after it had been in the hands of the left for 14 years. Now [the left-wing party] Bloco de Esquerda (BE) and the Communist party fear losing what little power they have left. The ideological paradox is that with their political egoism they could bring about the fall of a leftist government in favour of the conservative PSD, which is currently behind in the polls but is projected to do well.”