- By Stefano Guttusu
The Portuguese Revolution has arrived
The right wing conservative government of Portugal has fallen today amidst huge nation wide anti-austerity protest marches.
Portugal’s government has been toppled less than two weeks after taking power after left-wing opponents rejected its programme in parliament coinciding with record breaking public protests across the nation.
A centre-right coalition won the largest number of votes in October’s election but lost its overall majority.
A new leftist bloc has now voted 123 to 107 against the administration’s programme, prompting its collapse.
The move could lead to a new government led by the Socialist Party, likely to focus on alleviating austerity.
The Socialists came second in the elections but have since forged agreements with the Left Bloc and the Communist Party, making an alternative coalition possible.
Portugal’s current President, Anibal Cavaco Silva must decide either to ask the Socialists to form a new government, or to allow the incumbents to stay in charge until new elections are held.
The current government has formally issued it’s resignation.
Speaking during the debate in parliament, Socialist leader Antonio Costa said his proposed coalition would “guarantee conditions of stable governance”.
Anti-government supporters rallied outside parliament as the vote took place, dwarfing the small pro-government contingency that turned out.
Portugal was one of the countries hardest hit by the crisis in the eurozone, accepting an international bailout in exchange for sweeping cuts.
The current government has warned that the left-wing coalition risks turning Portugal into another Greece.
The last 12 months has seen the rise of extreme right wing policies across many EU nations with an equal rise in left wing public demonstrations. This polarization of European politics is only serving to create a gaping divide between the people and their governments.
As right wing parties swept into power in the Scandinavian and eastern European nations other countries who were not due a general election have merely operated policy creeps towards the right. Such is the case with the UK which has seen staggering numbers of anti-government protests throughout 2015.
Could Portugal ignite the left wing revival in European politics, or as many political commentators are betting, has Portugal simply become unrulable.