Portugal's Foreign Minister Resigns

Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas
LEO RAMIREZ | AFP | Getty Images
Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas

Portugal's Foreign Minister Paulo Portas has resigned, the president's office said on Tuesday, in what could be a big blow to the ruling centre-right coalition as Portas' small rightist party guarantees the government's majority in parliament.

Portas heads the rightist CDS-PP party and his resignation comes a day after Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar stepped down. Without the support of Portas' CDS-PP party, the government would lose its majority in parliament.

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Portas has periodically been at odds with Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho and Gaspar's strong adherence to austerity under Portugal's 78-billion-euro bailout, which has sent the country into its deepest recession since the 1970s.

Local media reported that Portas disagreed with the prime minister's choice to replace Gaspar with Maria Luis Albuquerque as the new finance minister.

Portugal has struggled to meet the terms of its bailout as the country's recession deepened and the prime minister has said he may seek further relaxation of budget goals if the economy worsens further.

The centre-right government has led the country ever since Portugal got a bailout in 2011, which was requested by the former Socialist government before it collapsed.

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