The Portuguese President, General Antonio Ramalho Eanas and Prime Minister Dr Mario Soares both warned of hard and difficult times ahead for the nation when the new Socialist-led government took office on Monday (30 January).
GV: President Antonio Ramalho Eanes enters chamber in Lisbon followed by other people including Dr Mario Soares.
SV: new ministers lined up
GV: Dr Soares taking the oath of office and signing book PAN TO President Eanes watching.
GV: Dr Victor Sa Machado, Foreign Minister, reads oath and signs book.
SV: members of Parliament watching.
GV: another minister signing book.
GV AND SV: Dr Soares making speech as others watch. (6 shots)
The new government's programme will be submitted to Parliament on Thursday. The alliance of Socialists and conservatives has been bitterly attacked by the Communists, Portugal's fourth largest party. In a speech at the weekend Communist leader Dr Alvaro Cunhal denounced the new cabinet as a "shameless coalition" and said the link-up was a threat to national unity. The centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) has pledged selective opposition to the new government and confirmed Professor Antonio Sousa Franco as its new leader. The confirmation of the new Government ends the six-weeks crisis in portugal which began when Dr Soares' 16-month-old government fell on a confidence issue in Parliament over its austerity programme. Initially Dr Soares tried to find a solution whereby both right and left would back a new socialist government, but he was forced to agree to a more elastic deal with the conservatives.
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Background: The Portuguese President, General Antonio Ramalho Eanas and Prime Minister Dr Mario Soares both warned of hard and difficult times ahead for the nation when the new Socialist-led government took office on Monday (30 January).
SYNOPSIS: This is Portugal's second government since the 1976 elections and includes for the first time under Socialist leadership, three conservative ministers.
The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon and both Conservative and Socialist members of the new cabinet announced last week watched Dr Soares take the oath of office. President Eanes said afterwards that the inter-party agreement was a democratic response to the nation's problems and more satisfactory than seeking a government of national salvation.
Among the three Conservative Centre Democrats in the new cabinet is Dr Victor Sa Machado who takes on the job of Foreign Minister.
The new government replaces Dr Soares' minority administration defeated in Parliament in December over economic proposals.
Dr Soares rejected criticism from left and right of his deal with the conservatives. He said most Portuguese saw it as a durable solution with good chances of tackling national problems. He said the two parties shared the objectives of beating the economic crisis, maintaining democracy and European integration. Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for vital loans would be rapidly resumed, he said, but warned that Portugal would have to practice a policy of authentic austerity.