–President Reported Preparing For New Election

LISBON (MNI) – Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva is prepared
to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Jose Socrates and is getting
ready to call an election to choose a new government, Portuguese daily
Jornal Publico reported on its website Wednesday evening.

The news comes as the Parliament nears the end of a debate on the
minority Socialist government’s proposed package of new austerity
measures amid strong signs that the bill will be defeated. Rejection of
the measures, which are strongly endorsed by Portugal’s European Union
partners, would amount to a vote of no confidence in Socrates’

Socrates is planning to meet with Silva at 19h00 GMT/1500 EDT, and
it is widely anticipated that he will tender his resignation in that
meeting if the parliamentary vote goes as is widely expected. Socrates
is scheduled to address the nation at 20h00 GMT/1600 EDT this evening.

The political instability that would ensue from a collapse of the
government, combined with market tensions that have pushed Portuguese
ten-year bond yields to a euro-era high above 8%, seem likely to
increase the pressure on Lisbon to seek a financial aid package from the
European Financial Stability Facility and the International Monetary

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