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Passos Coelho named Portuguese PM

Pedro Passos Coelho was handed the task today of implementing a drastic austerity package for Portugal when the president named him as the new prime minister after his recent election win.

world Updated: Jun 16, 2011 13:22 IST

Pedro Passos Coelho was handed the task today of implementing a drastic austerity package for Portugal when the president named him as the new prime minister after his recent election win.

Passos Coelho, leader of the centre-right Social Democrat party, pledged to form a coalition government quickly, recognising there was no time to waste to tackle the country's economic woes.

It is the first time the party has participated in a coalition and it is expected to go into government with the rightwing CDS-PP as a junior partner.

The 46-year-old Passos Coelho handed the Socialists, in power since 2005, their worst election result since 1987 in the legislative election on June 5.

Since then President Anibal Cavaco Silva has held talks with party leaders although there was never any real likelihood that anyone but the Social Democrats would take charge.

"After having listened to all the political parties represented in parliament, the president of the republic has named the president of the Social Democrat party, Pedro Passos Coelho, as prime minister," said a statement from Silva's office.

Passos Coelho's main challenge will be to implement a programme of spending cuts and economic reforms Lisbon agreed to last month in exchange for a 78 billion euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.