The Portuguese political and economic systems are as complex as any other in the European Union. In laymens terms, there is a president, who is more of a ceremonial figure with little political clout. A prime minister, who actually heads the government and an executive branch, legislative branch, and judiciary branches, who each do their respective jobs. Economically, the Portuguese are capitalist, but preach socialist solidarity.
Currently vying for his second term as Prime Minister after he resigned from the same position in March, Jose Socrates has put his name on the ballot for the Socialist Party. I am sure he is hoping to win. I am also sure you are asking yourself how in the world can someone that just resigned from the position of PM actually believe that he is the countries most viable leader? The basis for his campaign happens to be the same premise of his resignation just months earlier, Portugals' insolvency.
The age of exploration brought the people wealth beyond their wildest dreams. Now, thanks to its EU brethern, Portugal was bailed out of bankruptcy in late March. The bail bond was paid in the amount of €78billion, receivable over three years. Portugal is the 3rd country of the 27 EU states to receive bail money in the last year, totalling a sum of over €300billion. The 12th highest GDP in the world, Spain is projected to jump on the bail out bandwagon later in the year. Bringing the EU cash register to well over half a trillion dollars. Like Greece and Ireland, Portugal had no plan on how they were going to repay this debt to their neighbors or divide it among its industries.
What will more than likely happen? That is the €100billion question.
I can tell you what is happening now. Salary and job cuts in the public sector. In Portugal this means privatization of services that were once preformed by government funded employees, like doctors and other health practictioners, teachers, and municipal workers. So, in reality if you are a doctor that is currently funded by the government it is more than likely that you will be working alongside another doctor that is funded by the private sector and making more money then you, regardless of tenure, merit, or research you have conducted. Self-professed socialist, Portugal is already home to some the lowest working wages in the EU. Not to mention, if you are a retired government employee you can look forward to having your pension cut by 10% if you receive over €1500 a month.
Pause here for recollection. Late 2008 and the U.S. financial crisis. Followed by massive layoffs, job loss, and piles of debt. My hypothesis of all this formidable rhetoric is that the people of Portugal- life loving, warm hearted, and passionate, will remain essentially unscathed by any measures a system may try and tie them down with. Lastly, a big shout out and OBRIGADO to countries like Great Britian, Finland, Germany and China, for paying it forward, as long as someone owes you, you'll never be broke. Wish us luck, porreiro pá.