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(10 January 2020) - Portugal’s parliament approves this Friday the country’s first state budget with a surplus in the 45 years since the country's return to democracy.

Portugal
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Although it has only 108 MPs in the 230-seat parliament, the Socialist government is counting on the announced abstentions of other left-wing parties and the People-Nature Party (PAN) to push through the budget proposal in the first of three votes.

After four years of governing with the support of the left - the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), the Left Bloc (BE) and the Ecologist Party The Greens (ENP) - the government headed by António Costa was forced to negotiate with former parliamentary partners to ensure the viability of the budget proposal.

Costa offered the other left-wing parties incentives such as another €800 million for the Portuguese health service, one of the priorities for the legislature that has now begun, an increase in pensions and greater public investment in infrastructure, particularly in hospitals and railways.

Nonetheless, they still continued to demand, among other measures, greater increases in wages and social benefits, changes in labour legislation and an increase in the public network of crèches. (Lusa)

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