LISBON, Sept 1 Portugal's constitutional court
is complicating Lisbon's already fraught attempts to meet its
EU/IMF bailout goals but Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said
on Sunday he had no intention of limiting its power by changing
The prime minister also pledged to revise labour reforms
which the court rejected last week.
The court's third rejection of government austerity plans in
13 months has raised concerns about Lisbon's ability to make
structural spending cuts sought by lenders without
constitutional changes which could delay reforms and lead to a
"We do not need to revise the constitution to fulfil the
bailout programme and implement these measures, what is needed
is common sense," Passos Coelho told a meeting of his Social
"As for that measure, we will present an alternative very
briefly ... It's not the Constitutional Court that governs."
The parliament-approved bill would have allowed the firing
of public sector employees after a one-year re-qualification
Worth just 170 million euros in net spending cuts next year,
it was nevertheless an important element of a 4.7 billion euro
overall spending reform because of its potential longer-term
Passos Coelho said that having to come up with patch-up
solutions had a cost for the country's credibility and that the
court's rejections, especially if more were to come, could
complicate Lisbon's position in talks with its European Union
and International Monetary Fund lenders.
The next bailout review begins this month.
"Today I already cannot tell them that there won't be
problems with these measures. And if they ask how to replace
them, I'll have more difficulties in answering. But I will
answer and I will do what the prime minister is supposed to do,"
Portugal's current bailout programme ends in mid-2014, but
many analysts expect the indebted euro zone country to need some
sort of further support programme.