Costa Loses Support of Portugal’s Far Left

António Costa
Portuguese prime minister António Costa arrives in Brussels for a European Council meeting, October 16, 2020 (European Council)

After six years, António Costa’s “contraption” has run out of steam.

It is what Portugal’s right-wing opposition dubbed the social democrat’s confidence-and-supply arrangements with the far left. In return for concessions like raising the minimum wage and making school textbooks free, the Communists and Left Bloc were willing to keep Costa in power.

Costa’s Socialists are eight seats short of a majority in parliament. The Communists and Left Bloc have 29 seats between them.

By not forming a full coalition, Costa could avoid the stigma of governing with extremists while the Communists and Left Bloc could openly criticize him for not raising salaries in the public sector or overturning the labor market reforms of his center-right predecessor.

That mutual understanding has collapsed. Read more “Costa Loses Support of Portugal’s Far Left”

Portugal’s Costa Cruising to Victory on Back of Strong Economy

António Costa
Portuguese prime minister António Costa arrives in Salzburg, Austria for a meeting with other European socialist party leaders, September 19, 2018 (PES)

Portugal’s António Costa is almost certain to win reelection on Sunday. Polls give his Socialist Party in the range of 37 percent support against 26-28 percent for the center-right Social Democrats.

Costa won’t have enough for an absolute majority, but he is expected to continue to govern with the support of the far left. Read more “Portugal’s Costa Cruising to Victory on Back of Strong Economy”

New York Times Leaves Out Nuances in Portugal Story

António Costa
Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal attends a meeting with other European socialist leaders in Brussels, June 28, 2016 (PES)

A puff piece about Portugal’s left-wing government in The New York Times leaves out an important part of the story: the right-wing government which preceded it.

It were the liberals and conservatives who implemented the austerity measures that paved the way for the country’s economic revival.

The New York Times talks about a “humiliating” bailout that supposedly “deepened” Portugal’s misery until, in 2015, it elected the socialist António Costa, who reversed wage and pension cuts, igniting a “virtuous cycle” that put the economy back on a path to growth. Read more “New York Times Leaves Out Nuances in Portugal Story”

Portuguese Leader Defends Rolling Back Austerity

António Costa
Portuguese Socialist Party leader António Costa waves at supporters in Barcelos, September 27 (PS)

Portuguese prime minister António Costa is confident he can roll back austerity without entering into conflict with other European Union countries.

The Socialist Party leader, who governs at the head of an unprecedented left-wing coalition with the anticapitalist Left Bloc, Communists and Greens, told the Financial Times that his 2016 budget proposal, submitted to the European Commission this weekend, is “proof” that fiscal consolidation need not entail punishing austerity measures.

“The fact is that while laying the foundation for more jobs, higher growth and better social protection, this budget goes further in reducing the deficit than set out in our government program,” Costa said.

His spending plans would keep Portugal’s deficit under the 3-percent ceiling agreed with other eurozone nations. Read more “Portuguese Leader Defends Rolling Back Austerity”

Portugal’s Left Teams Up to Oust Passos Coelho

António Costa
Portuguese Socialist Party leader António Costa waves at supporters in Barcelos, September 27 (PS)

Portugal’s left-wing parties reached an agreement on Friday that could see the removal of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s second government only a week after it took office.

In separate statements, the Communists and Left Bloc said they had agreed with the larger Socialist Party to form a government of their own. Read more “Portugal’s Left Teams Up to Oust Passos Coelho”