October 31, 2019 / 2:43 PM / 13 days ago

Portuguese parliament passes government legislative program

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Portuguese Parliament hall during a debate on 2019 state budget in Lisbon, Portugal, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s parliament passed a four-year legislative program proposed by the government, giving Prime Minister Antonio Costa authority to govern in his second term.

As expected, no party challenged the program, with lawmakers mainly urging Costa to live up to his promises.

Those promises include raising the monthly minimum wage by 25% to 750 euros by 2023, reducing public debt and closing two coal-fired power plants. It also will seek to “eradicate all housing shortages” by 2024.

Costa won a general election on Oct. 6, expanding the Socialists’ parliamentary presence as the biggest party but still leaving it just shy of a majority.

He has been in talks with the left-wing parties that had backed him in parliament over the past four years, but they only agreed to negotiate support for legislation on a case-by-case basis, without a formal long-term pact.

Next year’s budget bill, which the government intends to submit to parliament by mid-December, is likely to be Costa’s first big test. His far-left allies in the previous legislature demanded more public spending, especially on healthcare and education.

Reporting by Catarina Demony

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