Last year Portugal’s austerity budget for 2013 (which included introducing tax hikes the equivalent of many people’s monthly wage) sparked widespread dissent among the population and protests across the country.
Now, with Portuguese debt double the country’s annual output, the struggling nation’s President has taken almost unprecedented action.
In an attempt to appease a restless populace Portuguese President Cavaco Silva made a surprise announcement during his New Year’s speech.
Despite signing the budget into law and triggering the controversial tax hikes on the previous day, Silva intends to send the budget to the Constitutional Court so that it can pass judgement on its fairness.
Only one other Portuguese head of state has ever taken such drastic measures.
Silva stated: ‘On my initiative, the Constitutional Court will be called on to decide on the conformity of the 2013 state budget with the constitution of the republic’.
Silva had previously described the budget as a necessary evil if Portugal were to adhere to the conditions of its Eurozone bailout, but he now asserts that as the budget will affect proportions of the population differently (leaving some far worse off than others) it isn’t just and needs to be assessed.
This move should please Silva’s socialist opposition, who had already threatened to take the severe austerity measures before the Constitutional Court if he failed to do so.
As of 14:18 pm
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