Portugal′s Socialists to form minority government | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 16.10.2009

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Portugal's Socialists to form minority government

Portugal's ruling Socialists have failed to secure a coalition partner, but Prime Minister Jose Socrates says that all parties are willing to compromise to safeguard political stability in times of crisis.

Premier Socrates uses a fan that reads advance Portugal during an election closing rally in Lisbon

Socrates' Socialists remain the strongest party despite heavy losses in the September poll

Socrates announced the formation of a minority government on Thursday after two days of talks with four opposition parties failed to produce a coalition.

"This government will last the four-year term, it is with this spirit that I start. Because the country has difficulties ahead and it needs political stability," Socrates said in a televised statement.

Socrates said that although none of the opposition parties were open to any lasting political agreement with his center-left Socialists they had demonstrated their willingness to cooperate in parliament for the sake of stability.

"I will do everything possible so that this dialogue yields positive results. I will now take the necessary steps to present to the president a government under the Socialist Party's responsibility," Socrates said.

Socrates is due to present a new government line-up within eight days.

Portugal is facing rising debt and unemployment and a growing budget deficit. The new government must present the 2010 budget bill to parliament by the end of 2009.

Socrates' Socialists won a second term in the September 27 general election, but lost their absolute majority in parliament, securing only 97 seats in the 230-seat assembly, down from the 121 seats won four years ago.

The center-right Social Democrats took 81 seats, the right-wing CDS-PP won 21 seats, the Left Bloc gained 16 and the Communist-Greens coalition got 15.

Editor: Andreas Illmer

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