by Nick Wright 23 October 2015
It is a bad day for those innocents on the Left who think that the European Union can be transformed from within, turned into an instrument of the peoples’ will and a motor for social progress, public ownership, popular sovereignty or even pluralist democracy.
For the first time since the monetary union was created parties that oppose the EU regime of privatisation, labour market deregulation and the fiscal straitjacket have been prevented from taking office even though they enjoy a parliamentary majority.
On the grounds of “national interest” Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to allow the appointment a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament on an anti austerity mandate against the conditions imposed by the EU-IMF Troika.
The Socialists, Communists and Left Bloc together won 50.7% of the votes and control the Assembly. The biggest party grouping, led by Pedro Passos Coelho gained only 38.5% losing 28 seats but was given the first chance of forming a government
The president justified his veto with the words: “Democracy must take second place to the higher imperative of euro rules and membership.
“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO.”