Portugal PM says open to new alliance with far left

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s prime minister said on Wednesday he is ready to renew his Socialist party’s alliance with two far-left parties following a general election in October.

The deal with the Left Bloc and the Communists has ensured a parliamentary majority for the government since 2015. But with opinion polls showing the Socialists could secure an outright victory, some party leaders want to ditch their allies.

“While we are not in 2015, I would take the same decision for the simple reason that the (political) solution has been good, the results have been good in their entirety,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa told parliament during the last debate before the summer recess.

Then, teaming up with the two leftist parties helped the Socialists eject the center-right minority government in a vote of no confidence.

During Wednesday’s debate a member of parliament for the Left Bloc, Pedro Filipe Soares, said the Socialists were “yearning for an absolute majority”.

Current polls put the Socialists at around 40% support, just short of the 43-45% they would need for a majority under Portugal’s proportional representation voting system.

A majority Socialist government which would not have to rely on the far left could mean more openness to foreign investment, budget rigor and possible labor market reforms.

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