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FOREIGN NEWS: Portuguese coalition gov’t wins confidence motion in parliament

 The Portuguese government won Tuesday a confidence motion, the first of its kind since the coalition government took power more than two years ago, in an apparent attempt to boost public confidence in the heavily indebted country.

The confidence motion was approved by the parliament with 130 votes in favor and 92 against in the 230-seat parliament where the coalition government of PSD or the Socialist Democratic Party and CDS-PP or the People’s Party enjoys a clear majority.

In the parliamentary debate before the voting, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said that maintaining political stability of the country is the priority of his government and all political parties in order to fulfil its international commitment. He also expressed his hope that the Portuguese are convinced that his government is capable of leading the country out of its deepening recession.

Passos Coelho also said that the government hopes to seek consensus with all political parties through dialogue to get the country out of the economic crisis at the earliest. The government will make further consultations with all political parties and associations over further reduction in corporate taxes, he added.

Portugal encountered a severe political crisis when Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar resigned on July 1 and Foreign Minsiter Paulo Portas followed suit the next day. The crisis was later defused thanks to the agreement reached between the two parties in the coalition government with Portas’ promotion to the post of the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy in the country.

Portugal has been implementing harsh austerity measures in return for the bailout of 78 billion euros (about 101 billion U.S. dollars) from the troika, comprising the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The government’s move has triggered widespread protests across the country in recent months and also the sharp differences among the country’s political parties.

The country has seen a deepening recession for the past few years. Its economy will contract by 2.3 percent this year and its unemployment rate is expected to reach 18.2 percent.

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