The Portuguese parliament rejected the overall budget for 2022 as planned with 117 votes against, 108 in favor and five abstentions, despite the last desperate attempts by Prime Minister António Costa to appeal to the Union of the Left.
“The government emerges from this vote with a clear conscience and its head held high,” emphasized Prime Minister Costa, who wanted to leave the Portuguese a message of calm and told them that they can continue to trust the current cabinet “even under the most adverse conditions” to continue to govern .
The parliamentary rejection of the budgets, the first in the country’s democratic history, is leading Portugal to a scenario with few solutions. Costa has already made it clear in the debate that he does not want to resign, as the opposition has claimed, but without new bills the government will only have a twelfth of the previous budget at its disposal.
The most feasible way would be to call for early elections, a competence that falls into the hands of the President, Conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has already shown himself ready to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic and return to the polls as soon as possible possible, January 2022.
Rebelo de Sousa announced Tuesday that he had taken steps to get the parties to bring their positions closer, but they were not enough to build bridges. When leaving the vote, Costa signaled that he was waiting for the Portuguese President’s decision.
Without seeing if and when new elections will take place, Costa, who has ruled Portugal since 2015, has made it clear that he wants to lead the Socialist Party (PS) again in the next elections. In the local elections in September, the Social Democrats won the world over, but lost important places like Lisbon.