LISBON Nov 27 Portugal's parliament approved
the centre-right government's 2013 budget in its final vote on
Tuesday, which promises a third year of recession and the
biggest tax hikes in modern history to ensure the terms of an
international bailout are met.
Lawmakers from the ruling Social Democrats and their junior
coalition partners from the rightist CDS voted for the bill,
ensuring passage thanks to their parliamentary majority. The
main opposition Socialists voted against.
The vote took place as a few thousand protesters grouped
outside parliament to oppose the bill, which far-left opposition
lawmakers have promised to challenge in the country's
Tax revenues fell short this year, undermined by the worst
recession since the 1970s. Still, the government is hoping that
sharp tax hikes in 2013 will guarantee sufficient income to meet
The budget aims to cut the budget deficit to 4.5 percent of
GDP next year from 5 percent this year. It envisages a 1 percent
decline in gross domestic product, which many economists think
is far too optimistic, after this year's slump of 3 percent.