The Portuguese Communist Party, the country's fourth largest, has called for early general elections to meet what it called a dangerous new phase in Portugal's young democracy.
GV & LV PANS Communist Party General Secretary Alvaro Cunhal addressing rally in sports pavilion in Lisbon. (2 shots)
LV PAN Crowd listens.
LV & SV Dr Cunhal continues to speak as crowd listens. (3 shots)
GV & LV Crowd applauds and chants. (2 shots)
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Background: The Portuguese Communist Party, the country's fourth largest, has called for early general elections to meet what it called a dangerous new phase in Portugal's young democracy.
SYNOPSIS: Announcing the move at the sports pavilion in Lisbon, Communist Party Secretary-General Alvaro Cunhal also urged resignation of the socialist minority government of Dr Mario Soares and suspension of key legislation on which the communists recently met humiliating defeat in parliament. Dr Cunhal had previously opposed an early election and his bombshell proposal shattered the country's August holiday calm. It also opened the way for fierce political battles ahead and possibly widespread unrest in factories and farms as Portugal struggles to solve a critical economic crisis.
Dr Cunhal attacked the ruling socialists for following a catastrophic policy during their year in office. He said they were furthering a return to capitalism in industry and agriculture with the backing of foreign imperialism. He presented a long policy report produced by the Party's central committee but did not explain how he hoped to get the other parties' agreement to his proposals.
The Communist Party leader accused the ruling socialists, the nation's largest party, of an unholy alliance with the second and third largest parties, the centre-right social democrats a the conservative centre democrats. All three parties deny any such pact though the social democrats voted with the socialists on agrarian reform. The new agrarian law seeks a better deal for small and medium farmers at the expense of the huge soviet-style collectives run by the communists since 1975.