Portugal govt defeats no confidence motion, warns of instability

LISBON, April 3 Wed Apr 3, 2013 1:47pm EDT

LISBON, April 3 (Reuters) - Portugal's austerity-minded government defeated on Wednesday a no confidence motion, which nevertheless united all the opposition in parliament, showing growing resistance against further budget tightening under an EU/IMF bailout.

The vote was largely symbolic as the ruling centre-right coalition holds a comfortable majority in parliament, yet Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho warned the move created political instability.

The main opposition Socialists and the two smaller left-wing parties backed the motion, garnering 97 votes in a 230-seat parliament.

It has contributed to concerns that a growing campaign against the government's austerity drive could derail Portugal's efforts to exit the bailout programme. It also throws the focus more sharply on to an impending court ruling on the legality of the administration's budget plans. Portugal's stocks fell sharply on Wednesday due to these concerns.

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