Open Europe Blog

UPDATE (18:15) – We thought it would be useful to explain quickly how things work in Portugal when a government crisis occurs. If the Prime Minister resigns, the Portuguese President is the one who decides when and if parliament has to be dissolved.

Under Portugal’s electoral law, new elections must be held at least 55 days after parliament is dissolved. This would mean almost two months with a caretaker government at a rather unfortunate time for Portugal. 


One day after the resignation of Finance Minister Vítor Gaspar, the Portuguese government has just lost another one of its key players. But the impact could be a lot bigger this time.

Paulo Portas, the country’s Foreign Minister (see picture), has resigned because he disagreed with the appointment of Maria Luís Albuquerque as new Finance Minister.

Portas is also the leader of the People’s Party (CDS-PP), the junior coalition partner of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. If the party pulls out of the coalition (which looks likely in light of Portas’s resignation) Passos Coelho will lose his majority in parliament. So this is critical as it can potentially trigger new elections. 

Passos Coelho will make a TV statement tonight. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, it’s worth keeping in mind the economic and social challenges Portugal faces – which we outlined here.

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