Portuguese Socialist opposition leader Antonio Costa is trying to form a “stable” government lasting more than one year to offer an alternative to a new term under Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.
“The Socialist Party doesn’t want to take power at any cost,” Costa said in an interview on Friday night with television station TVI. “What makes sense is to see if we’re able to have a government that’s stable. A stable government obviously isn’t a government that is assured to live one year, without knowing what happens next.’’
Talks with the Left Bloc and the Communists aimed at getting backing for an alternative government are going well, Costa said. “It’s a dialogue that isn’t easy because it’s between parties that aren’t used to talking among themselves.”
Premier Coelho on Oct. 4 won the country’s first general election since 2011, though his ruling coalition fell short of the majority it had in the past four years. The coalition grouping Coelho’s Social Democrats and smaller conservative party CDS now need a helping hand from the Socialists, who will have to at least abstain in parliament for legislation to pass.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva has asked Coelho to try to form a new government. The president is having meetings with each of the parties represented in parliament on Oct. 20 and 21 before formally appointing a prime minister. Portugal is no stranger to forming minority governments, though they tend to be short-lived.
Costa, who has proposed narrowing the deficit slightly slower than Coelho, said he won’t block a government backed by the ruling coalition if his party can’t offer a stable alternative government. He reaffirmed he would comply with Portugal’s European Union commitments.
“Although the negotiations are still under way, at this moment everything indicates that the Socialist Party is in a better condition to be able to lead a more stable government solution,” Costa said. The opposition leader on Tuesday said that a proposal from the ruling coalition trying to reach an agreement with the Socialists was “insufficient” and that he was seeking more concessions.