Sept 28 Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister Jose
Socrates won a second term in a general election on Sunday but
his centre-left party lost its absolute majority in parliament.
That leaves him having to opt to rule alone in a minority
government, form a coalition, or negotiate in parliament.
Below is a summary of the next steps required to form the
*Until Oct. 7: announcement of results of voting by
Portuguese citizens living overseas, who elect four members of
*Oct. 7 to Oct. 17: President Anibal Cavaco Silva meets
informally with the leaders of political parties to discuss the
*Until Oct. 17: formal announcement of final results in
Diario da Republica bulletin. Only after this date can Cavaco
Silva invite the leader of the winning party to become prime
minister and form government.
*Oct. 19 or 20: New parliament meets for the first time.
*Until Oct. 27: The new prime minister appoints ministers
and presents government program for parliament to debate. The
debate can last up to three days, and the program proposal is
approved or can be rejected by an absolute majority of members
*President Cavaco Silva cannot dissolve parliament and call
snap elections in the first six months after the election (March
2010) nor in the final six months of his own mandate, which ends
in March 2011.
*The timetable to form government will delay the
presentation and parliamentary approval of the 2010 budget by
several months. Usually approved by mid-December, the budget is
not likely to be approved before April 2010.
*In the interim, ministries can each month spend the monthly
amount allocated to them in the 2009 budget, with items suchs as
civil service pay rises to be retro-actively allocated after the
2010 budget is approved.
(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by Angus MacSwan)