British Euroskeptics Go Off the Deep End, Flog Bogus Portugal “Coup” Meme

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Anyone who followed the Greek criss with even half an eye open knows there is a lot not to like about the way the Eurozone is currently configured. And the resolution of the Greek criss does not bode well for its long-term future. The fouders of the EU and Eurozone recognized that their design was incomplete, and they anticipated that future predictable crises would provide the impetus to move their program forward.

However, as we’ve seen, economic performance among Eurozone members have diverged rather than converged. Germany has consistently put national interests ahead of implementing needed EU/Eurozone integration measures, such as Eurobonds or a major Eurozone infrastructure bank to allow for more fiscal spending in underperforming economies, or a Eurozone-wide deposit guarantee (as in with money behind it, as opposed to inadequately-funded national promises). But this isn’t so much pro-German behavior as sheer political expediency. Germany’s policies are hurting growth all over Europe, including in Germany itself, and bringing destructive deflation to Germany and the creditor nations.

And the handling of EU member states of the refugee crisis isn’t pretty either.

So that’s a long-winded way of saying that there’s a sound, indeed a strong, Euroskeptic case to be made. But late last week, a story by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, a reporter I normally like and respect, went off the rails in depicting perfectly legal government-formation procedures in Portugal in the wake of an inconclusive election as an ant-democratic, unconstitutional course of action, in a piece titled, Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal’s anti-euro Left banned from power. Even worse, other writers, such as Frances Coppola, uncritically amplified the Evans-Pritchard story. She originally titled her post, The Portuguese President’s decision shows the Eu is becoming like the Soviet Union (which is still visible in the HTML). She’s revised the headline (to The Fallout From The Greek Crisis Threatens European Democracy) and a fair bit of the post when she ran into a buzz-saw of well deserved criticism.

Some denizens of the Twitterverse were quick to react to the misreporting:

And Portuguese Twitters quickly set up a spoof hashtag, #PortugalCoup.

But what were the substantive errors in the Evans-Pritchard account? The short form is that it stems from over-reacting to some admittedly distrubing remarks made by the Portuguese president, and not only taking their eye off the ball in terms of the election results and the procedural steps underway.

Evans-Pritchard suggested, and kept reiterating on Twitter that the leftist parties (or the “lefts” as they are called in Portugal), who in total had won a thin majority in the popular vote and in Parliamentary seats, were being kept from forming a government.

That is false. Two right wing-parties, CDS and PSD, the incumbents, ran together in a coalition called PaF received 38% of the vote. That made them the largest bloc but clearly not a majority. The three left parties that together got a majority did not campaign as a coalition, have never been in a coalition, have long-standing enmities, and some key policy differences (for instance, the Socialist Party, or PS, is anti-austerity but wants to stay in the Eurozone, while the Communists are opposed to austerity and want to leave the Eurozone). The PS leader, António Costa, is trying to form a coalition of these three parties that traditional have scrapped over left-leaning voters. But “trying to form a coalition” is not at all the same as having one.

As IsabelPS points out*:

The Constitution says:

1. The President of the Republic appoints the Prime Minister after consulting the parties with seats in Assembly of the Republic and in the light of the electoral results.

It also says

1. Within a time limit of at most ten days after its appointment, the Government shall submit its Programme to the Assembly of the Republic for consideration, by means of a Prime Ministerial statement.


1. The following shall imply the resignation of the Government:

d) Rejection of the Government’s Programme;
e) The failure of any confidence motion;
f) Passage of a motion of no confidence by an absolute majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office.

Now what got Evans-Prichard disturbed is that the President, from the incumbent parties that lost seats and votes in the last election, has named a Prime Minister from his coalition. But that is perfectly kosher, indeed, while it is not mandated, it has been customary to select the head of the party with the most votes as Prime Minister. What has gotten many people understandably bent out of shape were the remarks the President, Anibal Cavaco Silva, also made. From the Telegraph (boldface ours):

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.

So despite the ugly dose of post-election eletioneering, all Cavaco Silva has said is that he is sticking with the current pro-Eurozone, austerian game plan of his coalition as long as he can do so in the current Constitutional framework. And that may not be very long. As Chris Hanretty sums up on Medium:

In this case, the facts are these:

  1. In the elections of the 4th, no single party secured a majority. The incumbent right-wing Social Democrats (PSD) and their allies the CDS won the most votes and the most seats, but failed to win an overall majority. Their main challengers, the Socialists (PS) improved their vote and seat share, but the big winners were the Left Bloc (BE).
  2. Prior to the elections, the PS had not discussed a pre-electoral alliance with the Left Bloc or the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP). However, once it became clear that these parties had won a majority of the vote (50.75%) and a majority of seats (122 of 230), negotiations began.
  3. The Portuguese constitution gives the President of the Republic the task of “appoint the Prime Minister after consulting the parties with seats in Assembly of the Republic and in the light of the electoral results” (Art. 187).
  4. The current President is Anibal Cavaco Silva, the most successful leader the right-wing PSD has ever had.
  5. On the 22nd, the President gave the leader of the PSD, Pedro Passos Coelho, the task of forming the next government, as some had expected he might.
  6. In the speech explaining this decision, the President explained that in all previous elections, the task of forming the government went to the party with the most seats, even where that party did not have a legislative majority. He gave the example of the 2009 election, where the PS formed a government.
  7. The President went on to say:

“However, the appointment of the Prime Minister by the President of the Republic does no finalize the process of forming a Government. The final decision belongs to Parliament or, more precisely, to the Members of Parliament. The rejection of the Government Programme, by an absolute majority of Members of Parliament, implies its resignation”.

8. The President also said:

“Outside the European Union Portugal’s future would be catastrophic.

In 40 years of democracy, the Portuguese governments never depended from anti-European political factions, that is, of the political factions which, in the electoral manifestos with which they presented themselves to the Portuguese, defended the repeal of the Lisbon Treaty, of the Budgetary Treaty, of the Banking Union and of the Pact of Stability and Growth, as well as the dismantlement of the Economic and Monetary Union and Portugal’s exit from the Euro, and, still further, the dismemberment of NATO, of which Portugal is a founder member”.

These remarks were directed against the the PCP, [the Communist party  which has proposed exit from the Eurozone and NATO.

This all means that the EU has not prevented Leftist parties from forming a government. The EU did nothing. The Portuguese President made a decision. He decided to ask an (1) incumbent PM who is (2) leader of the party with the most seats and who is (3) of the same party as the President, to form a government. If the right is unsuccessful, then the government will be voted down, and the left will have the chance to put together an alternative.

National Interest explains why the situation in Portugal now is what Lambert likes to call “overly dynamic.” The Socialist Party had gotten a new leader in 2014, Antonio Costa, after the party had see its popularity fall. The PS, as it is called, suffered a further decline. Contrary to expectations, Costa did not resign nor did the winning block, the PaF, seek to form a coalition with PS:

A recovering economy and PS’s injured reputation delivered victory to the right-wing coalition instead, albeit only with a relative majority. Normally, the opposition leader would have resigned, but not this time. António Costa has since been seeking something unheard of since the revolution: a coalition between PS and the far-left communists and Trotskyists.

IsabelPS gave a translation of another angle on the President’s position on a Portuguese TV brodcast from the ex-head of the PSD (a member of the minority coalition that is provisionally in charge):

He [Cavaco Silva] at the bottom meant: “If this agreement come to fruition [a left government of the PS, PCP and BE] I do not think it is consistent. If I had the power to dissolve parliament, I would not accept that government and would call elections. Since I have no such power, because the constitution does not allow it, the Honourable Members of Parliament should think carefully before voting.”

It is this that leads me to conclude that Cavaco, if the question is put, will clearly appoint António Costa [the head of PS].

Ironically, Cavaco Silva’s pro-Eurozone rant could be the best thing that could have happened to Costa’s efforts to form a coalition among traditional enemies. The Wall Street Journal games the situation out:

Still, his decision presents President Cavaco Silva with a dilemma if, as seems likely, Mr. Costa mobilizes a parliamentary majority against Mr. Passos Coelho next week, when his government is likely to face a confidence vote.

He can either ask Mr. Passos Coelho to stay on as a caretaker prime minister until June, which is the earliest that new elections could be held under the constitution. Or he can ask Mr. Costa to try to form a government—either a formal coalition or minority government—with his newfound allies on the far-left.

Few believe such an arrangement could last long given the different party agendas and their historical rivalry. Early tests would include the need to agree on a budget for 2016, particularly if Mr. Costa sticks by his electoral pledge to abide by EU rules on reducing the country’s fiscal deficit.

The constitution only requires that Mr. Cavaco Silva act in the national interest, but both paths condemn Portugal to months of political uncertainty.

In other words, this would be a European version of what we call “gridlock”. But as Ed Harrison stressed via e-mail, “If the parties present a FORMAL coalition to the President that has a majority he MUST allow it.” So we’ll see soon enough if the three “lefts” decide that the enemies on their right are a compelling enough cause for them to put aside their long-standing rivalries and work together.

*IsabelPS also helpfully sent a primer:

Key players

Parties and their heads, from right to left (I have put PAN, the animal party in the middle because it is where they sit):

CDS (Paulo Portas)
PSD (Passos Coelho)
PAN (André Silva)
PS (Antonio Costa)
PCP (Jerónimo de Sousa)
BE (Catarina Martins)

Presidente Cavaco Silva (PSD)

Electoral results (CDS+PSD, the incumbents, ran together in a coalition called PaF):

PaF: 38.35% – 107 MP
PS: 32.31% – 86 MP
BE: 10.19% – 19 MP
PCP: 8.25% – 17 MP
PAN: 1.39% 1 MP

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  1. Tim

    I will note that Ambrose Evans Pritchard and Frances Coppola said nothing back in 2008 during Canada’s prorogation crisis which was a far more serious violation of democratic norms than anything currently in Portugal. Of course all Canadian parties support the EU and British membership in it so from the perspective of vehement anti EUers such as Pritchard and Coppola it is best to ignore these inconvenient facts.

  2. Nigelk

    “it is my duty, within my constitutional powers, to do everything possible to prevent false signals being sent to financial institutions, investors and markets.”

    That’s the problem right there. The loyalty is to “financial institutions, investors, and markets.”

    Your assessment that “Cavaco Silva’s pro-Eurozone rant could be the best thing that could have happened to Costa’s efforts to form a coalition among traditional enemies” is the real takeaway here.

    I’m glad it’s not as egregious as originally thought. It seems the journalist in question is out over his skis on this one. I still reserve the right to be adamantly anti-EU; Part of me wishes they’d actually try something so grossly anti-democratic (which everyone knows TBTB want to do and would if they thought they’d get away with it), as it would possibly serve to ignite a political conflagration that would lead to the end of the EU.

    I own a business that sells tangible goods in the real economy to people who go to work every day. I take less than $50K out of it every year. The rest gets plowed back in to improvements, efficiency, wage increases, and bonuses at the end of the year for the employees. Everyone gets 1 week paid vacation after 1 year and 2 weeks paid vacation once they’ve been here 2 years.

    When they came to try and sign me up, I told the Chamber of Commerce to get out of my office because I don’t employ lobbyists and I’m not part of the BIG CLUB. My exact words were, “I’m not trying to make a fortune. I’m trying to make a living. And in my community, I’m trying to make a difference.”

    The great disease of our species is selfishness at all levels. In the US, we even teach the working poor to be selfish, and have turned Socialist Jesus (the one from the book) into Republican Jesus (the one from Fox News). I’m not religious but have seen the damage the fans of this fictional character has wrought.

    Working people get nothing but Austerity from the EU. This whole banker cartel needs to be torn down and we need to start over, starting in the US, which is the beating black heart of the Oligarchy. Because if we destroy it here, the dominoes will fall in Europe and elsewhere.

    A just society would impose the following:
    80% tax rate on all speculative income above $100,000 annually.
    Annual 1% wealth tax on all persons and organizations with a net worth over $10M
    Return to 1950s USA tax rates
    No Cap on SS/Medicare contributions (Only taxing first $114K is insulting to those who rely on SS)
    0.1% tax or $0.01 per share tax on every stock transaction, whichever is higher
    95% tax on High Frequency Trading
    Maximum credit card interest 14%
    Destroy predatory PayDay lending and create public banks in the Post Office to help the unbanked at cost
    Health Care as a human right
    Housing as a human right
    Employment as a human right
    I’m open to additional suggestions to the policies above. I’m only one man.

    Bankers: Hang ‘Em High
    Down with the Oligarchy

    Twitter @RadicalPopulist

    1. IsabelPS

      It annoys me no end to see people that have always lived under the rule of law to blithely assume that the only difference between tanks and banks is a consonant, and to invoke ” the legacy of the Carnation Revolution” to say things like “This is the truest form of Euro authoritarianism, short of full prisons and torture chambers”. There WERE full prisons and torture within living memory in Greece and Portugal, you know?

      I suppose that is why it drove me mad to see the army of laptop potatoes pushing the Greeks to set THEIR house on fire for the sake of revolution (or even worse, their PhD thesis) and I will do anything to prevent them from doing the same with MY house. I see them drooling already.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Isabel, thanks very much for helping us understand these events.

        I have a technical question: I saw one reference to “the Communists/Greens.” Are the Greens in Portugal actually allied with the Communists? That would be remarkable. I could probably look it up, but I don’t read Portuguese!

        You express vividly the dilemma faced by small countries like Portugal and Greece: the Euro is bad for everybody and especially bad for them, but they don’t have the leverage to actually change it, and they generally don’t have the time or administrative capacity to make a successful transition. That may have to be left to one of the large indispensable economies, ideally France.

        Consequently, it’s wrong for those of us with no immediate stake to ask them to throw their bodies on the machine, especially since they have little chance of success. But it’s notable, and encouraging, that European elections are gradually producing a growing death knell for the Euro as they know it.

        Those of us in the US or Britain are following events closely because we face our own versions of the same dilemma, even with a sovereign currency. (Your assumption that we in fact “live under the rule of law” is optimistic. But we aren’t facing tanks and shouldn’t wish that on anyone else.)

        1. IsabelPS

          As a matter of fact, the Communists run as a coalition (first called CDU, later PCP-PEV) between the PCP and the Greens: those are generally called the Watermelon Party (green outside, red inside). Don’t ask me how the thing came about, I don’t remember, or why: I suspect that is because it broadened their bandwidth or something. They are generally considered a satellite party with no independent existence and are usually counted in the PCP troops.

          Now, what is interesting is that, in these elections, a new ecologist party managed to elect one MP, against all expectations. The media and the political system and its mouthpieces had put those expectations in another small left party (that would be the natural ally of the PS) and that simply disappeared in the polls (not without leaving a MEP in Brussels that seems to be the main informant of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard as he quotes him a lot in his article). This new party, P(ersons)A(nimals)N(ature) is the true outsider (one only has to read the vicious comments in blogs, etc) and will be a real ecologist party (incidentally, they suggest the use of menstrual cups, that are not contaminated with nothing but I didn’t know it even existed until I read all the mirth in said blogs).

          1. Oregoncharles

            Again, thank you!

            It seems to me an odd coalition – but in truth, the only former Communists I actually know are members of my Green Party chapter! Very reliable activists, but getting pretty old.

  3. Daryl

    Thanks for the article. I was wondering what was up but not knowing anything about Portugal could not puzzle it out from a few news articles.

    > the Socialist Party, or PS, is anti-austerity but wants to stay in the Eurozone

    These policy goals, however, seem to be increasingly unrealistic to hold together.

  4. kevinearick

    The communist den of thieves is always mimicking marriage, children and work, and is always being taken advantage of by the resulting fascist den of thieves, in a positive, viral feedback loop. The communist physicists at NASA, Boeing and JPM, spoiled brats all, aren’t all working for Wall Street by accident. Only labor invests across the entire empire cycle. “The seekers of the future revolve around the splendid present,” erroneously.

    Consumers consuming everything in their path, communists pretending to be married and kidnapping children as a jobs program, ends badly, for them, surprise. Regardless of government, they are all living on borrowed time. Small town or big city, the only difference is the recycle time duration of the perception. Dial 1-800-get-ajob to join. “Don’t hate me because I’m a real person,” crack me up.

    oil $45, Nasdaq 5000, CAD .75

    Rubicon – irony

    1. kevinearick

      All empires are communist, regardless of dress, majorities who consume until they cannot, always with a ready scapegoat to ensure continuation, in a competition for scale. Humanity is not a monolith, except for the majority, individuals pretending to be different, with different colored fill-in-the-blank.

  5. ltr

    I am so thankful for this post. I was appalled at the way in which Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was echoed and amplified. I have learned to turn away from the writing of Evans-Pritchard, but evidently a Coppola has not or chooses to amplify the bias.

  6. Oregoncharles

    To Be Fair: it was clear to me, after reading Evans-Pritchard’s post, that the president was within his rights, as well as that his action was likely to be futile – and possibly leave Portugal without a government. Not sure where I got that – was there other reporting on events in Portugal? Not quite worth going back and researching. The real problem, as Yves makes clear above, was the anti-democratic intention implied in his statement, as well as the likelihood of a caretaker government.

    My impression is that Portugal has received its bailout and consequently is not under the extreme time pressure that Greece faced; they would still be vulnerable to the ECB pulling the plug on their banks, though.

    I see a possibility that Portugal if it does form a leftists government, could be in a position to do what Greece couldn’t: pursue a two-pronged strategy, in which it announces the intent to remain in the euro IF it is reformed, but openly begins preparations for an exit, starting the clock on the 3 years we were told it would take. But I wouldn’t wish the chaos that Greece experienced on anybody.

    Ultimately, as i noted above, a resolution will probably depend on one of the large economies. Trouble is, in France, that would come from the Right, not at all ideal.

    1. IsabelPS

      The Telegraph seems to be backtracking a bit (I got some tweet impression that AEP is somewhere in France picking up walnuts)

      But they still say things like this:

      “Mr Costa, however, vowed never to back the conservatives. Instead, after a few weeks of political horsetrading, he brokered a historic coalition deal with the radical Left Bloc and Communists in order to clump together a workable political majority of just under 51pc. ”

      The horsetrading is far from finished and everybody is trying to figure out how it will end. A PS minority government (with assurances from the other 2 that they will not shoot it down in parliament… but how to be sure?)? A PS led government with a couple of ministers from one or the two parties (that would tie them down, but will they accept to be tied?)? Virtually nobody seems to believe that Cavaco will try to keep a caretaker government for 6 months or so (and many think that Passos would refuse), or that he will look outside the parliamentary framework (constitutionally, he would have the right to do it).

      Someone from the PS privy on the horsetrading said that, as the “left of the left” is adamant about salaries, pensions and taxes, if there is a problem it is the deficit that would have to move. Sooooo….

      A guy that was in this past gov (did an outstanding job in tourism, BTW) published his interesting forecast in the main weekly:

      He is convinced that Costa (PS) will get rid of the left of the left and present himself to the Prez to form a minority gov, more stable than the PaF minority gov (all this after shooting them down in Parliament, something that is a given). The rationale being that he could negotiate on the right and the left. The fact is that the Prez is cornered because all his constitutional alternatives are bad (he is known as vindicative and he would probably rather MURDER Costa but he will not throw the country in turmoil because of that, I don’t think).

      Now. One thing that the international press is missing is the deep, deep fractures inside the PS, for reasons that are too long to explain. On the night of the elections Costa was widely expected to accept defeat, but that would virtually force him to resign from the party leadership and it would be the end of him. He found this chance but he is gambling his skin. Inside the party many people are watching, in case he succeeds, but many think that this is a “anything goes” approach that could backfire very badly: the last time a gov was shut down in Parliament and snap elections were called, the “wounded” party won and stayed in power for 10 years (Mr Cavaco, precisely).

      Stay tuned…

      1. Oregoncharles

        Sounds like a thoroughly confusing situation, and not as hopeful as initial reports indicated.

        If he discards the “left of the left,” why is there any reason to prefer his profer over the Conservatives”? He wouldn’t have a majority, and came in second.

        1. IsabelPS

          By “discarding” I mean that he would not be dependent on them as he is now.

          I don’t want to do prophecy, but I think that the likelihood of the PCP budging from their stronghold is very slim. It is an old-fashioned Stalinist party (I have read that they abjured Stalinism, but I am not sure), that knows exactly its strength. BE is probably more amenable to an agreement, as it is much more a “protest” party, bound to grow like Syriza. Basically, the only thing that unites them is to unsaddle PaF. They have traded insults a month ago, not 10 years ago. A negative reason is not a very strong glue, I think.

          The PS, in my opinion, is on the verge of implosion (actually, I see it more like a rotten fruit falling from the tree). Costa has his political existence at stake, with no exaggeration. The only thing that can save him, and the party, is power. That is a pretty good incentive to get smart. IMO, he will present his case as the only one that can negotiate on his right (the things he has in common with PaF, that are not so few), and on the left (all the social measures that are the PCP and BE red lines).

          He has to keep running and pushing away the next elections. I am convinced that the PS will be nuked, then. It is difficult to know exactly what people are thinking, but some polls made around a week after the elections gave 3% more to PaF. I have the feeling that the electorate (who mostly vote “centre”) sees this as a power grab and don’t like it.

          But I might be totally wrong, of course…

  7. IsabelPS

    Another take on the Prez speech, from a conservative (but clever and funny commentator), that points out that he used the exact same words in his speech that the PS leader used in his public declarations when he came out of the initial consultations withe the Prez. (That bit of the speech goes like this: ” It is meaningful that these [other] political forces [PS, PCP, BE] have not presented any guarantees of a stable, lasting and credible alternative.”)

    “It is easy to guess what happened : seeing the astonishing discrepancy between what we heard from the mouth of António Costa and what António Costa decided to communicate to the country outside the meeting between them, Cavaco felt cheated . Endowed with little sense of humor, he wasn’t amused by the rhetorical jugglings of Costa and chose to launch an aggressive warning to the country, to see if he could wake up some consciences. That the effect of his communication has been bringing the PS together, as some Socialists were quick to celebrate, says less about the President ‘s clumsiness than on the miserable state in which the PS is.”

    Anyway, as you can see, we are still too much enthralled in this soap opera to worry about Frau Merkel (wrong, I know!)

  8. Pedro

    The president said before the ellection he would only accept a majority government and now backtracks on this criterium.

    There are no coalitions in parliament, all pre ellectoral coalitions are automatically dissolved after voting. So there is no increased legitimacy of pre electoral coalitions.

    The results are actually:

    PSD 89
    PS 86
    BE 19
    CDS 18
    PCP 15
    PEV 2
    PAN 1

    The President virtually declared BE and PCP and PEV rogue parties.

    He had the right to appoint the leader of PSD as Prime-Minister, he had no right to threaten to not accept a goverment lead by PS with parliamentary support from whoever.

    This President has activally conspired to achieve the fall of the previous PS government, wanting the intervention of the Troika and loss of sovereignity to achieve his political and neo-liberal objectives when Portugal had secured a aid packed on the Spain mode instead of the Greece mode. We have been paying a high price for this treachorous behaviour, conspiring against the goverment of Portugal on a time of high fragility.

    This article seriously underrates the submission to international powers of our President, and his active fight to try to destroy the PS party.

    1. IsabelPS

      The increased legitimacy of pre electoral coalitions stems from the fact that everybody knows what the colligated parties are jointly and severally up to. Which is a lot more that can be said of the movements on the left post elections in Portugal: after all, in 40 years of democracy there has been a majority of the left for 22 of them and the PS [Mário Soares] never wanted to colligate with the PCP. It is quite reasonable that people (the voters, and also the President) are a bit surprised by these negotiations, that in 24 days have not yet produced an agreement that anyone can see. There is a first time for everything, of course…

      As for the rest, my “narrative” is different, but that is the beauty of democracy :-).

  9. Pedro

    In 1976, the then PPD and CDS had 115 MPs, more than the 107 of the PS of Mário Soares. PCP had 40. Mário Soares became Prime Minister with the support of PCP (the total then was higher than the current 230 MPs).

    The President speech was close to a dictator’s speech. I have no idea if anything will come out of the left parties negotiations. But that is totally beyond the point of the attemp by the president of outlawing 2 parties that together had over 18% of the vote and are perfectly legal.

    You can argue they are unable to come together to form a government, but the President intervention was pretty much what The Telegraph described.

    «Evans-Pritchard suggested, and kept reiterating on Twitter that the leftist parties (or the “lefts” as they are called in Portugal), who in total had won a thin majority in the popular vote and in Parliamentary seats, were being kept from forming a government.»

    Since the President said he would not accept a left government that included BE, PCP and PEV even if the agreement surfaced, I don’t see where Evan-Pritchard got it wrong.

    I was surprised to read a certain gullibility by Yves Smith to your manipulation of the reality. And I mean that in a very democratic way.

    1. IsabelPS

      He cannot really prevent it. He can wiggle as much as he wants but he cannot prevent it if parliament brings down all his alternatives. As he cannot dissolve the parliament, he is hostage to them. So his speech was either posturing, unsavory pressure, whatever you want, but he doesn’t have the power to be a dictator, even if he wanted to be one.

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