Portugal's President Antonio Ramalho Eanes is now facing the task of choosing a new Prime Minister to replace Socialist leader Mario Soares whose 16-month-old minority Government fell following his failure to win a dawn vote of confidence on Thursday (8 December).
GV PAN Members of Parliament and speakers
GV Soares speaking to M.P.s (4 shots)
GV Applauding MPs
SV Gallery newsmen
GV House voting
GV Speaker of House counting votes and other members and observers looking on (5 shots)
SV Soares leaving bench
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Background: Portugal's President Antonio Ramalho Eanes is now facing the task of choosing a new Prime Minister to replace Socialist leader Mario Soares whose 16-month-old minority Government fell following his failure to win a dawn vote of confidence on Thursday (8 December).
SYNOPSIS: The Socialist Government fell despite an impassioned warning by Prime Minister Soares that his defeat could bring a dangerous swing to the Right or national bankruptcy. Dr. Soares put the confidence issue after failing to reach agreement with the opposition parties on a national consensus for dealing with Portugal's gave economic, social and political crisis. After two days and a night of gruelling debate, Dr. Soares asked for the vote of confidence on his economic policies, saying he would make no concessions and would not share Government with Right or Left. The outgoing prime minister promised that if his party survived the vote, the Cabinet would have been thoroughly restructured and would include independents. Reports say Dr. Soares took the decision calmly - without rancour.
President Antonio Eanes has begun consultations with political leaders to find a successor to Dr. Soares who will remain in office in a caretaker role until a new government is formed.
Reports say Dr. Soares knew the fate of his Government was sealed when Communist deputies of the Assembly of the Republic rose from their seats at the end of the debate and joined those of the Centre Right Social Democrats. His motion was rejected by 159 votes to 100. The three major Opposition parties had blamed Socialist indecision and inefficiency for Portugal's present position and rejected Dr. Soares argument that they should underwrite a continued minority Socialist Government and resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. He said he wished his successor the best of Luck, but make it clear that the socialists would take no part in a coalition with the left or right.