Draft budget failed: Portugal could face new elections

Status: 10/27/2021 9:41 PM

Portugal’s parliament has rejected the draft budget for 2022. President de Sousa had announced new elections for this case. The country is threatened with months of political limbo – amid recovery from the pandemic.

The socialist minority government of the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa is threatened with a serious crisis over the dispute over the draft budget for 2022.

Parliament rejected the submitted budget by 117 votes to 108. There were five abstentions. The communists and the left bloc, who had supported the government so far, abandoned Prime Minister Costa’s socialists this time after weeks of negotiations.

Demand for more social spending

From their point of view, too little money is earmarked for social spending: They demand, for example, a higher minimum wage, better salaries for government employees and more funds for the health system. The socialist government is already planning to build four new hospitals – as a consequence of the overloading of the health system at the peak of the pandemic.

The situation could lead to new elections and put a brake on plans to recover the country from the pandemic. Because President Rebelo de Sousa had already said before the vote: If the budget does not get through, he will dissolve parliament, which would result in a new election. Observers expect a date to be set in the next few days.

Political limbo for months

Due to constitutional requirements that must be met before elections are held, and taking into account the Christmas holidays, early elections would likely not take place until January. By the time a budget is drawn up for 2022, it should be April. This schedule would mean that Portugal would hang in political limbo for months, especially while the government wanted to stimulate the economy with 45 billion euros in aid from the EU after the corona pandemic.

Prime Minister Costa indicated in today’s debate that he would run again in a new election. He won’t run away when things get difficult. The polls of the socialist among the Portuguese population remain high.

With information from Oliver Neuroth, ARD Studio Madrid


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