The parliament of Portugal rejected this Wednesday the bill of Budgets 2022 of the Socialist minority government, as the far left sided with the conservative opposition, in a move that is likely to trigger early elections in the next few months.
Lawmakers voted 117-108 with 5 abstentions to scrap the bill that provided for income tax cuts for the middle class and increased public investment to stimulate post-pandemic recovery, while reducing the deficit to 3.2%. of gross domestic product from 4.3% in 2021.
The prime minister’s far-left ex-allies António CostaThe communists and the left-wing bloc had demanded more benefits and protections for workers, improvements in the social security system and more public investment in the health service, which they say Costa ignored as being too focused. on deficit cuts.
The painful memory of the EU bailout
Costa assured that he could not accept damaging the international credibility earned with so much effort in a country with one of the highest burdens of public debt in Europe and that it was subjected to painful austerity in 2011-14 under an international bailout.
The Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, warned on Monday that without a budget, which relies heavily on EU funds for recovery from the pandemic, it would have no choice but to dissolve parliament and call snap elections two years ahead of schedule.
Costa, who presided over more than six years of relative stability with strong economic growth and a small budget surplus before last year’s pandemic, ruled out resigning and said he would lead his party in any election campaign.