Friday, 23 October 2015

Portuguese president blocks left wing coalition from forming government

A coalition of left wing parties who have an absolute majority of 50.7% in the Portuguese parliament have been barred from forming a government by Portugal's right wing social democrat president.

In denying the Left Bloc coalition the right to form a government, President Anibal Silva said:
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. This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy. After we carried out an onerous programme of financial assistance, entailing heavy sacrifices, it is my duty, within my constitutional powers, to do everything possible to prevent false signals being sent to financial institutions, investors and markets.
It is common on the continent, where socialist parties are still interested in workers, that the left wing is anti-EU and the right wing pro-EU. Left wing parties understand the damage the EU does to productivity and the impact uncontrolled immigration has on wages and unemployment whilst right wing parties understand that the interests of large corporations and the rich drive EU policy. This is mirrored in the UK where the nominally socialist Labour Party abandoned their long held opposition to the EU to beat the drum for Brussels whilst the forces of euroscepticism are largely represented by UKIP and to a lesser extent, the Conservatives which are both to the right of centre.

It is concerning to see the a eurosceptic movement gain the support of an absolute majority of voters and be denied the right to form a government by a europhile president entirely based on his opposition to the proposed legislative programme that the electorate voted for in the election. It makes David Cameron's decision to refuse to create new UKIP peers to reflect the 3.9m votes the party got in the election to keep eurosceptics out of the House of Lords look amateurish but does raise the question: is there a pan-EU agreement to keep eurosceptics out of power at all costs?