Socialist-Communist Alliance Spells More Instability for Portugal

Socialist-Communist Alliance Spells More Instability for Portugal
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho after presenting the government's four-year policy program to parliament, Lisbon, Nov. 10, 2015 (AP photo by Armando Franca).

A coalition of left-wing parties in Portugal forced the center-right minority government to resign late Tuesday, only 11 days after it took power following general elections. But the unstable partnership between the Socialist party and the smaller Communist party could mean a similar fate for the next government.

The toppling of the center-right government wasn’t exactly a surprise, given widespread unpopularity over its austerity measures. Now-ousted Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s government came in first place in last month’s election, but the coalition of his Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the conservative Democratic and Social Center-People’s Party (CDS-PP) lost its parliamentary majority, receiving only 38.6 percent of the vote. Passos Coelho formed a minority government at the request of Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who holds a mostly ceremonial role. The move was widely criticized by many left-wing parliamentarians, one of whom said the president was “making the country waste time.”

And that turned out to be the case: The moderate center-left Socialist party forged an alliance with the Communist party and the radical Left Bloc, which all together control just over 50 percent of seats in parliament. With that majority, the parties voted down the government’s four-year policy program, which included continuing harsh austerity measures, and forced Passos Coelho’s government to resign.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.