Portuguese president calls early elections for Jan. 30

Lisbon, Nov 4 (EFE).- Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced Thursday that he will dissolve Parliament and call early elections on Jan. 30 to get the country out of the political crisis that erupted with the rejection of the budget.

“One week and one day after the rejection of the 2022 Budget, I decided to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic and call elections for Jan. 30, 2022,” said the president in a statement to the country, after holding a round of contacts with the main political actors in Portugal all during this past week.

The president said that “it is part of the life of a democracy to return the (decision) to the people” and the upcoming election is the “best road” to alternative solutions, including presenting a new budget or maintaining the 2021 budget.

The 2022 spending plan “was an especially important budget at an especially important time” for Portugal, he said, noting that the crisis has hit during a period of recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and with European funds from the Recovery Plan still pending.

Rebelo de Sousa also justified his selection of Jan. 30 for the upcoming nationwide election, saying that the election campaign and debates should not be held during the Christmas season.

“As always at decisive moments, the Portuguese and only (the Portuguese) are the best guarantee of the future for Portugal,” he said.

The minority government of Socialist Antonio Costa remained alone in defending its budget for 2022 after its former partners on the left turned their backs on it and lawmakers on the right also voted against it, thus resulting in the president’s decision to call elections just two years after the latest ones.

EFE pfm/mar/vh/bp

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