‘Portugal not to stop austerity plans’

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (file photo).

Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho says Lisbon will not stop its tough austerity measures despite outcomes of the country™s local elections, which are predicted to result in heavy losses for his conservatives.

œThe municipal election results will have no effect on national policy,” said Portuguese premier earlier this week.

He also said that results of Sunday™s municipal elections would not œdisturb the austerity policies,” imposed by his center-right government.

According to political scientist Antonio Costa Pinto, œWhether they (representatives for 308 city halls) are from the right or the left, the Portuguese hope the government will be punished in one way or another,” for its tough austerity measures.

The polling stations opened on Sunday morning and involve mayors and city councils in 308 municipalities as well as assemblies of representatives in 3,091 smaller administrative units.

Latest opinion polls have shown that Coelho™s Social Democratic Party (PSD) was likely to lose support in most large cities.

Main opposition leader and head of the Socialist party Antonio Jose Seguro has called on the Portuguese people to use the elections to œgive a voice to indignation” and spell out the œwill of change in this country.”

The elections come two weeks before the government is to present its budget proposal for 2014, which will include new spending cuts to an amount of 3.3 billion euros (about USD 4.5 billion).

The new cuts are required by the country™s creditors – the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)- which granted Portugal an emergency loan worth 78 billion euros ( USD 102 billion) after the country™s borrowing costs soared to unsustainable levels in 2011.

The Portuguese government has imposed a series of deeply unpopular austerity measures to meet the conditions of the international bailout.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis in Portugal is forcing an increasing number of people in the recession-mired eurozone country to turn to food banks for help.

MAM/MAM

Copyright: Press TV