Portugal reaches deal to avert bailout crisis

Saturday 06 July 2013 20.30
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho at Belem Presidential palace to meet President Anibal Cavaco Silva
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho at Belem Presidential palace to meet President Anibal Cavaco Silva

Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has reached a deal with his junior coalition partner, the CDS-PP party, to end a rift that had threatened the country's bailout programme.

A government spokesman said the deal is subject to approval by President Anibal Cavaco Silva who is due to meet political parties on Monday and Tuesday.

The spokesman did not provide details of the agreement but said the two parties would hold a meeting today, to be followed by a statement.

The political crisis began this week after a resignation request by Foreign Minister Paulo Portas, who heads the CDS-PP.

The political uncertainty has threatened to upset progress on Lisbon's €78 billion bailout programme.

Mr Portas said he disagreed with the appointment of Maria Luis de Albuquerque as finance minister to succeed Vitor Gaspar, who resigned from his post on Tuesday.

The CDS-PP leader said the new minister was too close to the policies of her predecessor, which have led to Portugal's biggest economic slump since the 1970s.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's revised down Lisbon's sovereign credit outlook yesterday, changing the outlook to negative from stable, citing the impact of political uncertainty.

Its BB rating for Portugal is still in junk territory.

Mr Cavaco Silva told a conference yesterday that a negative scenario for the country would be a failure to return to markets as planned in 2014, which could happen due to internal politics or external events.

Keywords: portugal, bailout