LISBON, March 28 Portugal's president met
parliament's speaker Jaime Gama on Monday as part of
consultations to decide on calling a snap election, with no date
yet set for a key Council of State meeting he has to summon
The political crisis following Prime Minister Jose Socrates'
resignation last week prompted Standard & Poor's and Fitch to
downgrade Portugal's credit ratings, with S&P warning it could
downgrade it further this week.
Portuguese debt yields soared to new record highs above 8
percent on Monday -- a cost of funding that is widely viewed as
unsustainable -- as investors consider a bailout for the
debt-ridden country as all but inevitable.
"We talked about the political situation and the calendar of
decisions to be taken," Gama told reporters after the meeting
with President Anibal Cavaco Silva, declining to elaborate.
"It's a difficult moment for our economy, for the lives of
the Portuguese and we all have to be responsible in the face of
this situation," he said.
Cavaco Silva is expected to summon his Council of State
advisory body this week, after which he should dissolve
parliament and call an election. Socrates retains full powers
until the president's decision.
On Friday, the leaders of the main political parties urged
the president to call a snap election in late May or early June,
rejecting the option of a coalition cabinet. [ID:nLDE72O21B]
Portugal has a large volume of debt maturing in the next few
months. Most economists agree Lisbon should be able to repay
around 4.3 billion euros ($6.05 billion) of bonds falling due on
April 15. There is another payment of 4.9 billion euros in June.
(Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Toby Chopra)