Portugal was thrown into political confusion on January 24 when the outgoing Prime Minister, Dr Francisco Pinto Balsemao, angrily condemned the proposals of President Antonio Eanes for early national elections.
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Background: LISBON, PORTUGAL
Portugal was thrown into political confusion on January 24 when the outgoing Prime Minister, Dr Francisco Pinto Balsemao, angrily condemned the proposals of President Antonio Eanes for early national elections. The president's plans, announced in a national address on January 23, came after several months of mounting economic and political uncertainty. He made it clear in his statement that he wants the political scene to be clarified so that Portugal's problems can be faced more coherently. The 1983 budget has not yet been passed and, without it, Portugal cannot pursue talks on an important new loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The prime minister's resignation on December 19 also froze negotiations centered on the renewal of the military agreement covering the strategic U.S air base at Lajes in the mid-Atlantic Azores Islands. The agreement, which has always been a major source of economic and military aid for Portugal, expires early in February. The alliance of Social Democrats (PSD), Christian Democrats (COS) and he tiny Monarchist Party, agreed earlier this month to back the little-known former Education Minister, Vitor Crespo, as the new man to replace Dr. Balsemao. Professor Crespo, an academic who was removed from the education portfolio after widespread criticism, was chosen only after several others turned down the job and is thought unlikely to keep the feuding alliance together for long.
Source: REUTERS - AFONSO PINTO