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Anti-austerity parties won Portugal's election but they've been effectively banned from power

The country’s president won’t invite them to form a government even though they’ve the most seats.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

PORTUGAL’S CENTRE-RIGHT coalition government has begun preparing its return to power, but anti-austerity politicians who have more seats in parliament have vowed to bring it down.

Incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho started composing his new Cabinet yesterday after the country’s president invited him to form a government.

His party won the most seats in the 4 October vote but their coalition has fewer seats than the left-wing coalition.

The Socialist Party, the Left Bloc — allied with Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party — the Communists and Greens won 122 of the parliament’s 230 seats, compared with 107 for the right-wing coalition.

Despite this, the conservative head of state said he couldn’t give power to parties which oppose Portugal’s membership of the shared euro currency — a reference to the Communists and Left Bloc. He therefore invited the centre-right coalition to form a government.

Centre-left opposition parties were incensed by the head of state’s decision.

Source: euronews (in English)/YouTube

They promised to use their combined parliamentary majority to quickly bring down the minority government by voting against its four-year policy program, which will be the first item on the new Parliament’s agenda. Rejection of the program would force the government’s resignation next month.

Socialist leader Antonio Costa, who has been negotiating the creation of a left-of-centre majority government with the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc, accused the president of triggering “a pointless political crisis.”

He said President Anibal Cavaco Silva’s decision was “unacceptable” and only postponed the inevitable rise to power of his unprecedented leftist alliance.

At the source of the current political upheaval is the €78 billion bailout that debt-heavy Portugal needed in 2011.

The government is expected to be sworn in next week.

With reporting from © – AFP 2015

Read: Syriza and Tsipras return to power after narrow election win >

Read: Greek rebels form new party ahead of snap election >

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