Portugal's Coelho to End Opposition Talks If No Progress Is Made

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said he won’t hold more talks with the opposition Socialists if there’s no progress toward agreeing on the new government’s policies.

“I’ve had two meetings with the Socialist Party and I don’t intend to have any more meetings to pretend or simulate that we are seeking a result,” Coelho said in comments broadcast by television channel SIC on Wednesday. “I’ll always be available to reach any compromise that will give the Portuguese guarantees of growth and job creation in coming years.”

President Anibal Cavaco Silva asked Coelho, a Social Democrat, to try to form a new government after the ruling coalition on Oct. 4 won the country’s first election since exiting a bailout program in 2014. The prime minister lost the majority he had in his first term, meaning the Socialists could get backing from a majority in parliament if they’re able to form an alliance with the other left-wing parties.

Socialist leader Antonio Costa said yesterday that the coalition’s proposals for a new government were “insufficient.” The former mayor of Lisbon has also been holding talks with the Left Bloc and the Communist Party to try to come up with an alternative government solution that would still respect Portugal’s international commitments.

“The Socialist Party doesn’t want to lead a government at any cost,” Carlos Cesar, the party’s president, said today in comments broadcast by SIC. “What the Socialist Party wants is that the weight of this excessive austerity that has been placed upon the Portuguese is relieved and that the Portuguese won’t have to bear the cost of not having a government solution.”

The president will formally appoint a prime minister after meeting all the parties represented in parliament.

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