Socialists pull out of Portuguese government talks

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Associated Press

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 20 at 2:33 AM

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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