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Portugal one step closer to bailout exit

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 01:42

Nov 26 - Thousands protest in Lisbon against the government's austere 2014 budget, which imposes more spending cuts. As Joanna Partridge reports, many of the new measures are likely to be challenged in court, which could threaten Portugal's smooth exit from its international bailout next year.

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As Portugal's parliament voted inside on a tough 2014 budget, protestors called for an end to austerity. SOUNDBITE: UNION REPRESENTATIVE AND TOBACCO COMPANY WORKER FERNANDO RODRIGUES, SAYING (Portuguese): "They are asphyxiating us and we don't agree at all with it. We want the troika out of Portugal, we want the government out and we want them to give people a choice for a better life and a better future." SOUNDBITE: PENSIONIER ANA ISABEL, SAYING (Portuguese): "Little can be said. Suicides, hunger...This cannot go on. This was not what people wanted. We now need an election, to give people strength." Despite the public's pleas - parliament passed the bill in the final vote. It means more cuts are on the way. They're aimed at helping Portugal to meet tough deficit goals so it can exit its three-year international bailout next year. Opposition parties are now planning to challenge some of the government's austerity measures in court. The Constitutional Court has already overturned a series of public spending cuts. Will Hobbs is from Barclays. SOUNDBITE: Will Hobbs, VIce President of Research, Barclays, saying (English): "The consensus has been expecting a more difficult exit from bailout for Portugal than for Ireland for instance, and this looks still set to play out. We'd still be cautious with regards to Portugal, but we do feel that the euro zone is committed to help, so we don't necessarily think it's a disaster scenario but certainly worth being wary." If the Constitutional Court overturned the latest austerity measures, the government might be forced to turn to alternative ways of making savings - like tax hikes. Portugal's international lenders have said the court challenges are potentially the biggest threat to Lisbon's efforts to exit the bailout and return to normal market funding in June 2014.

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Portugal one step closer to bailout exit

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 01:42