Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is not worried about whether the draft budget for 2020 tabled by the Socialist government will pass its first reading.
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has said he is not worried about whether the draft budget for 2020 tabled by the minority Socialist government will pass its first reading after the Left Bloc said it would not vote in favour.
The first reading of the budget bill is due to take place in parliament on 9 and 10 January, with the vote taking place on Friday.
“I don’t want to comment on this: that’s an issue that’s going to be debated in general this week,” de Sousa told reporters on Sunday, in a very brief response to their questions on the subject. “I await [it] serenely.
“Then it will be the committee phase” of the bill, he added, reiterating the line that he said he had taken “from the beginning: I am not concerned about the passage of the budget.”
The president was speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony to mark the departure of the training ship Sagres, which set sail on Sunday for a 371-day voyage as part of celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, in an expedition that was initially led by Ferdinand Magellan (known in his native Portugal as Fernão Magalhães).
Journalists had sought de Sousa’s reaction to the announcement on Saturday by the Left Bloc – the third-largest party in parliament – that it would not vote in favour of the budget bill on its first reading. It left open the question of whether its deputies would abstain or vote against at this stage, implying that this would depend on negotiations with the government.
On Saturday, Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, said that work on the budget would continue “to the last day”, after the Left Bloc’s national coordinator, Catarina Martins, said the conditions were not in place for her party to vote for the bill on its first reading.