PORTUGAL: The 500 Days of M

A Socialist Premier's effort to "lance the wound" proves fatal

After 17 months in office, Portugal's first democratic government in half a century went down in defeat last week. On a vote of confidence Premier Mário Soares' Socialist government lost, 159 to 100, to the combined forces of the Communists on the left and the Social Democrats and the Center Social Democrats (C.D.S.) on the right.

Soares had called the vote of confidence after the breakdown of lengthy negotiations with the other parties over austerity measures designed to help bolster Western Europe's poorest economy. "It was necessary to clarify the situation,"...

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