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Separate agreements between Portugal’s Socialist Party; the Portuguese Communist Party and its coalition partners the Greens and the Left Bloc this weekend have paved the way for a new government to replace the right wing minority government of Passos Coelho who faces defeat in parliament on Tuesday.

almost certain to be defeated in parliament on Tuesday by a rejection motion tabled by the left-of-centre majority following a two-day debate on its programme. Losing the vote implies the government’s resignation and the appointment of a new prime minister by

This is a defeat for the right wing president Aníbal Cavaco Silva who earlier suggested that parties opposed to Portugal’s membership of the EU could not be admitted to government.

The left parties oppose the EU Portugal fiscal compact. A new government would be committed to the restoration of holidays, a rise in the minimum wage and reversing privatisations of public services and utilities.

The shift in the balance of power, both within the state and on the left has presented an opportunity to the PS leader but comes at a cost to his credibility on the left. Earlier in the election campaign that saw the right wing coalition emerge as the largest party but without a majority he attempted top marginalise the parties to his left.

His aim of an absolute majority failed and his charge that the PCP and BE had only the aim of “combating the Socialist party” – “that they wanted only to be in the demonstrations but not in the government to solve people’s problems” looks inept. His credibility in office is now tied to the new left alliance

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