European & International News

Portugal reopening the abortion debate?

[Brussels, 6 June 2011] Following the resignation of the Portuguese minority government earlier this year, yesterday on 5 June, Portugal voted in early parliamentary elections. According to the official government’s election results, the centre-right Social Democrats won the most votes and seats and are the party to issue the next prime minister.

The name of the Social Democrat leader Pedro Passos Coelho emerged as the most probable country’s new prime minister. A lot of media attention was dedicated to the lack of experience on a government post of Mr Passos Coelho. Media and political analysts have already started to question whether Mr Passos Coelho’s experience as an entrepreneur will be sufficient to face the challenges of budget cuts and economic downturn.

Moreover, Mr Passos Coelho recently reopened the debate on abortion, proposing a new referendum. This move, rather classified as a simple communications blunder, was mostly ascribed to the lack of experience of Mr Passos Coelho. Even though he long claimed not to be a conservative, now questions start to raise whether a new referendum on abortion is threatening Portugal. Later on Mr Passos Coelho explained that he only wants to improve the current legislation.

Abortion was legalised in the predominantly Catholic country after a referendum a few years ago. The EWL and its members have been involved in the referendum that led to the positive results in 2007 and will continue to monitor closely the situation.

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