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.
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 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.