Socialists pull out of Portuguese government talks

Socialists pull out of consensus talks over changes in Portugal's coalition government

Associated Press
Socialists pull out of Portuguese government talks
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A dart is stuck on a photo of Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho outside the finance ministry in Lisbon Wednesday evening, July 18 2013. Civil servants gathered outside the ministry in a protest vigil against the government's austerity policy and entertained themselves throwing darts at photos of politicians. Photo at left is of Foreign Minister Paulo Portas and at right of President Anibal Cavaco Silva. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- The leader of Portugal's main opposition party says talks aimed at resolving a dispute over changes in the coalition government have failed.

The coalition nearly split July 2 when Foreign Minister Paulo Portas, the leader of the junior party, threatened to resign.

A compromise was reached when Portas was appointed deputy to Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

But President Anibal Cavaco Silva asked the government to reach a consensus with the Socialists, Portugal's leading opposition party.

On Friday, Socialist leader Antonio Jose Seguro said his party had left the talks.

He said Cavaco Silva must now accept the compromise agreement or call early elections.

The dispute caused turmoil on financial markets as fears arose over Portugal's ability to uphold the terms of its 78 billion euro ($102 billion) bailout.

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