* Socialists re-elect Socrates with 93 pct of vote
* Political crisis after PM resigned worsened debt woes
* Says will stand in general election, to resist bailout
By Andrei Khalip
LISBON, March 27 Jose Socrates was re-elected
leader of Portugal's Socialist party on Sunday, four days after
resigning as prime minister, and vowed to run in a parliamentary
election on a platform opposing a financial bailout.
Socrates, who won 93 percent of the leadership votes despite
the country's political crisis, spared no criticism of the
opposition whose rejection of his minority government's
austerity measures last week led to his resignation.
"I am here to face the judgment of the Portuguese. I am not
afraid and I will fight for victory," he told a party meeting
after being re-elected as general secretary.
"It is the moment for the Portuguese to choose between those
who want a foreign aid programme, those who want the IMF to
come, and those who will give everything, their best for
Portugal to not have to ask for foreign aid."
Economic analysts say the crisis could force Portugal to
request an international bailout from the European Union and the
International Monetary Fund because the uncertainty could make
it more difficult to finance itself in the debt markets. Euro
zone members Greece and Ireland have already sought aid.
Socrates, who is expected to stay on as caretaker prime
minister until the election, says a bailout would undermine a
weak economy and demand too many sacrifices from the nation.
He accused the main opposition Social Democrats (PSD), who
lead in opinion polls, of provoking the political crisis without
presenting any alternatives and accused them of having "already
surrendered to aid from the IMF".
On Saturday, PSD leader Pedro Passos Coelho told Reuters
that his party was committed to meeting budget goals agreed with
Brussels, saying of any bailout: "I think we must avoid a
situation like that." [ID:nLDE72P0DF]
He also said a caretaker government could seek a bridging
loan if the country's financial crisis escalates.
On Friday, the leaders of 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]
President Cavaco Silva is expected to summon his Council of
State advisory body this week, after which he should dissolve
parliament and call an election.
The political crisis prompted Standard & Poor's and Fitch to
downgrade Portugal's credit ratings and pushed Portuguese debt
yields to record highs of over 8 percent last week -- a cost of
funding that is widely viewed as unsustainable.
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 in
April, but 4.9 billion euros due in June may trigger a request
(editing by Elizabeth Piper)