Portugal. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Portugal include Independence Day (December 1) and New Year (January 1). Portugal got a new president in January when Aníbal Cavaco Silva, candidate for the bourgeois, opposition Social Democratic Party, overcame five left-wing candidates already in the first round of the presidential election. Cavaco Silva, at the age of 66, was the country’s prime minister between 1985 and 1995. Second in the election came the independent socialist Manuel Alegre, followed by the third Mário Soares, 81-year-old former president (1986-96) and former prime minister of social government in the 1970s and 1980s.
Outgoing President Jorge Sampaio had held the office for two five-year terms and, in accordance with the Constitution, could not run for a third term.
Cavaco Silva was formally installed as president on March 9 and then became the country’s first bourgeois president since the re-establishment of democracy in Portugal in 1974. The new president is an educated economist and as prime minister had made himself known for far-reaching market economy reforms. He went to elections with promises of a better economy in Portugal, which was struggling with excessive budget deficits. In his installation speech, he said that the biggest challenge for Portugal in the future was to accelerate the stagnant economy. He also promised to cooperate with the country’s social government for political stability.
In January 2011, President Cavaco Silva was re-elected with 53% of the vote.
In March 2011, the Democratic government sought to adopt a new “Growth and Stability Package” in light of the bankruptcy of the country. The package would have resulted in even more drastic government cuts and tax increases, but the opposition chose to put a distrust agenda on the government, which fell by 97 votes to 133. The conservative “social democracy” chose to vote with the opposition, thereby bringing the government to a standstill. The president then postponed new elections for June. Socrates continued as the head of a temporary government and in April had to apply for EU financial aid. Portugal thus became the third country after Ireland and Greece to go bankrupt during the crisis. However, the EU stated that Portugal needed to make even more severe cuts than the government had fallen on in March if it needed EU support. In mid-May, the EU adopted a $ 78 billion aid package And a few days later, the IMF decided to contribute another 26 billion. € under the same conditions as the EU.
The June election became a disaster for the ruling Socialist Party, falling 8.5% to 28%. Even worse, for the left wing alliance BE, which went 4.6% to 5.2%. In contrast, the conservative Social Democracy PSD went up 9.6% to 38.7%, just as the conservative CDS-PP went. After the election, PSD and CDS-PP formed a majority government with 132 out of Parliament’s 230 seats behind it. Several pointed to the sensibility of forming a broad unity government where the Socialist Party also joined, but that was not possible. PSD chairman Pedro Passos Coelho became new prime minister. In July, the rating downgraded Moody’s country government junk status to junk status. Fitch also downgrades to junk in November and Standard & Poors in January 12.
In November, the trade union will conduct a one-week general strike in protest of the government’s economic policy. In March 2012, public servants carry out a 24-hour general strike in protest of the government’s amendment of labor laws, public sector redundancies and a 20% cut in wages.
The new government was the most reactionary since the days of the military dictatorship. Coelho stated that access to abortion would be abolished and the same would apply to marriage between gays. The government started to fire within the public sector and announced that up to 100,000 public servants would be fired. The remaining were cut their wages by 20% in 2012. At the same time, pensions and health and education expenses were cut. VAT was raised and a number of public companies were privatized. This included companies in the energy sector, airline TAP, banks and TV channels. The support period was reduced from 18 to 12 months. The cutback policy was so fierce,
While others were cut back, the government provided $ 3 billion. € in support of the country’s largest bank Millenium BCP in June 2012. In November 2012, a new general strike against the government’s economic policy was carried out and hundreds of thousands demonstrated in front of Parliament. The peaceful demonstration was attacked by police and 48 protesters were injured.
The government’s downsizing policy caused the country’s economy to collapse, and so did the government’s revenue. While the debt in 2011 when the EU aid package was adopted made up 107% of the country’s economy, it had grown to 128% in 2013 – mainly as a result of the fall in GDP. In the same period, unemployment increased from 11% to 17.7%. GDP growth in 2012 was negative by 3%.
In 2011, the government had accepted the EU’s demand that the state budget deficit in 2013 be below 3%. In November 2013, the government implemented new layoffs within the public sector, as well as lowering wages and pensions. The contraction of the country’s public sector was dramatic. In 2005, 747,880 were public servants; at the end of 2013, the figure was 563,595 – a decrease of 25%. 19% of the country’s population then lived below the poverty line.
Portugal was a fast-paced country where refugees could flee to Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Australia or Northern Europe. This was first and foremost the young people who had little opportunity to work in Portugal.