October 28, 2015 / 4:53 PM / 3 years ago

Portugal parliament to vote on new government's program November 10 or 11

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s new opposition-dominated parliament will hold a vote on Nov. 10 or 11 that could topple the austerity-minded minority government less than a fortnight after it is sworn in, lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Portugal's caretaker Prime Minister, and leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Pedro Passos Coelho speaks to the media after a meeting with Portugal's President, in Lisbon October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Hugo Correia

The government will be sworn in on Friday.

Its policy program must be voted on within three days of being presented in parliament. If the plan is rejected, as the opposition has vowed it will be, the government would fall.

Party leaders at the National Assembly agreed on Wednesday that Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s center-right government program will be debated on Nov. 9 and 10.

Passos Coelho was named prime minister last week after his coalition won the most votes in the national election on Oct. 4 but lost its majority in parliament, which swung to leftist parties who are trying to form their own coalition.

The main opposition Socialists have vowed to boot out the new government, saying they will come up with an alternative administration backed by a majority in parliament. No left-wing interparty agreement has yet been formalized.

If the government is rejected by parliament, President Anibal Cavaco Silva would have to either name Socialist leader Antonio Costa as prime minister or leave Passos Coelho in a caretaker capacity until after a presidential election in January.

The president cannot call new parliamentary elections in his last six months in office.

The political stand-off has prompted concerns that a tentative economic recovery seen in the wake of the debt crisis and an international bailout could be blown off course.

Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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