Portugal. According to
Countryaah.com, Jorge Sampaio, former Lisbon mayor, was elected
Portugal's president on January 14. Like his representative
Mário Soares belongs to the Sampaio Partido Socialista (PS).
Soares could not be eligible for re-election as he has
served as president for the two five-year periods that the
country's constitution maximally allows.
At the end of January, the government signed a treaty
with the country's unions and employers' organizations.
According to the Treaty, wages were allowed to increase by
only 4.5% during the year, 1% above the government's
Portugal has the cheapest labor force in the EU, and
this, combined with an expanded infrastructure, increased in
1996 foreign companies' investments in the country in
several sectors - automotive, energy production,
agricultural and textile industries. In May, the German
business group Siemens announced an investment of Escudo 60
billion ($ 380 million) to build an electronics plant in
northern Portugal. Ericsson in Sweden received an order from
the Portuguese telecommunications operator Telecel worth SEK
650 million for the delivery of switches and base stations
to a mobile telephone system.
At the end of June, Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime
Gama participated in a Geneva talks on East Timor with
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
On March 5, 2004, Parliament rejected with a vote of the
PSD and PP a bill to allow abortion. Nevertheless, the
government recommended conducting a study on the number,
causes and complications of illegal abortions in Portugal.
It may change its position on existing legislation in this
area. Acc. figures from the Ministry of Health 11,000 women
needed medical treatment after the implementation of illegal
abortions in 2002. The extent of illegal abortions is
estimated to be around 30,000 annually.
Prime Minister Manuel Durão Barroso was appointed new
President of the European Commission in July. His post was
taken over by Pedro Santana Lopes. However, this government
only lasted for 4 months. New elections were held and Social
Democrat José Sócrates became new prime minister. His party
got the biggest electoral victory in its history and gained
absolute majority in parliament.
In June 2005, the EU ordered Portugal to reduce the
government budget deficit to bring it down to the EMU
target. Portugal was only the second country to be
reprimanded by the EU for violating the guidelines. The
government had already presented a plan to reduce the
deficit from 6.8% to 6.2% for the year. The plan operated
simultaneously with a reduction to 2.8% in 2008.
In August, the country was hit by extensive drought of
forest fires that destroyed 140,000 hectares and cost 15
people their lives. The disaster forced Portugal to ask for
help from other EU countries to fight the fires.
At the January 2006 presidential election, the
center-right former Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva beat
5 left-wing candidates. He got 50.54% of the vote. On his
accession in March, he stated that he wanted a "strategic
cooperation" with the Social Democratic government with
which he now had to live.
In February 2007, a referendum on free abortion was
conducted. The proposal was approved by 59% of the
population and in April the government could propose a new
law that legalizes abortion during the first 10 weeks of
pregnancy. President Silva had been against the law, and had
therefore initially submitted it to the Constitutional
Court, where it was only known by a narrow majority in
accordance with the Constitution. Only then did Silva sign
A legal inquiry into Portugal's participation in the
CIA's torture program was suspended in May 2009, ' the lack
of evidence ». This prompted the Portuguese Member of the
European Parliament, Ana Gomes, to resume the investigation
because a large number of stakeholders had never been
involved. However, the claim was rejected by the state
attorney in September. In the same year, Portugal received 2
Syrians from the US concentration camp in Guantanamo. The
Syrians could not return to Syria because of the risk of
As in Denmark has extensive police impunity for abuse,
torture and murder. Several torture cases were dealt with in
the courts in 2009. Police officers were all acquitted, but
judgments were given on false testimony and falsification of
documents by police officers.
The ruling Socialist Party declined drastically in the
September 2009 elections, falling 8.4% to 36.6%. The largest
progress of the election was the Left Bloc, which rose 3.4%
to 9.1%. Despite the decline, the Socialist Party remained
the country's largest, and Prime Minister Sócrates continued
in the post.
Portugal made significant strides in the area of gender
politics during the Socialist government. In 2009, fathers
and mothers were treated equally and in May 2010 same-sex
parties were allowed to marry.
Portugal was hit by the global economic crisis. GDP fell
by 3.3% in 2009 and unemployment rose from 9.0% in March
2009 to 10.5% in March 2010. Meanwhile, youth unemployment
reached 21.4%. The figures were at the EU average and were
significantly better than neighboring Spain. All in all, the
government took a number of unpopular economic measures as
the government deficit grew to 9.3% - where the EU's border
is 3%. The government therefore implemented a savings
package in June 2010:
- The personal tax was raised by 1.5%
- VAT was raised 1% to 21%.
- The corporate tax was raised 2.5% to 27.5%
- Public servants in senior positions as well as
elected politicians reduced their salaries by 5%
Although the package was not aimed at the country's
poorest - unlike most other EU countries - 300,000
demonstrated at the end of May in Lisbon.