October 9, 2019 / 8:39 PM / a month ago

Portugal's far-left open to working with new minority Socialist government

Portugal's Prime Minister and Socialist Party (PS) leader Antonio Costa meets with Portugal's Left Bloc (BE) party leader Catarina Martins in Lisbon, Portugal October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s far-left parties said on Wednesday that they were willing to work with a new minority Socialist government, with the Communists open to cooperating on a case-by-case basis and the Left Bloc favoring a long-term deal.

The Socialists of caretaker Prime Minister Antonio Costa won a general election on Sunday but landed just shy of a full majority, leading him to open talks with the far-left allies that supported him over the past four years.

Costa, with at least 106 Socialist seats in the 230-strong house, needs the support of just one of his previous partners to pass laws.

A potential renewal of the 2015 deal was discussed during the meetings on Wednesday but the Communists said there was no need for a written agreement as happened in 2015. They said they were willing to make a joint assessment of different measures, including the 2020 state budget.

The Left Bloc would prefer a written policy deal, party leader Catarina Martins told reporters after meeting Costa. “(But) we don’t close the door to case-by-case approvals of measure if this is not possible.”

Both parties will meet again “in the coming days”, Costa said.

“The most important thing is to guarantee there are conditions for us to start governing and there are political conditions, with a (written) agreement or not, to meet expectations of stability for this legislature,” Costa said.

Costa has not excluded negotiating with other parties as well. He met with the Greens, environmentalist People-Animals-Nature (PAN) party and the left-wing Livre. PAN said it would meet the Socialists again next week.

Reporting by Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Grant McCool

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